You Live Your Life, I ll Take Mine!
Suffering is a terrible thing. Lying in agony because of a disease or sickness is completely horrifying. Sensing death in the air may be the single-most fearful emotion a person could feel. A person who has a terminal illness has to look at their family and friends everyday and painfully realize that he or she only has so long to live. There will only be a couple more weeks or months to spend time with the people that person loves. What could be more depressing and cruel? People having to live their lives in pain and suffering because of an illness should not also have to go through the hardship of slowly losing the people they care about.
Where do the sick go when there is no medical help? Is it just expected for them to go on with life until the monster inside kills them? That is cruel. If a person has no hope, why should the law or even the patient s family have the right to make him or her live on in excruciating pain? The simple fact is that a sick person does have a choice, and that choice is to end their life with assistance from a doctor. This may help the person to die less painfully and maybe with some sense of happiness.
Many are against euthanasia because it seems morally and religiously wrong. Killing is wrong in all of its forms, so it can t possibly be acceptable to help someone who is sick to die. Those against the issue feel God is the one and only chooser. He alone decides who lives and dies. But isn t it true that keeping patients alive on machines is completely artificial. God may have called for this person s time, but still the patient is kept alive by man-made machines. No moral argument should be made. It is not about what is right or wrong. The fact is that a person is sick and suffering and nobody should be arguing if the patient is allowed to die or not. That is not the issue. It is about the patient s wishes. Morally conflicted people can look at this, if a member of their family were suffering, would they want to keep them alive and breathing by machines? In a sense, euthanasia can become an act of charity (480), as Annette T. Rottenberg says in Euthanasia.
... end patients' lives, people and physicians would be better served by improving all patients's tate of life and mind so that they can live ... assist a person in taking his or her own life in order to put an end to unwanted and unnecessary suffering. This includes ... McCuen Publications Inc. McKhann, C. F. (1999). A Time to Die: The Place for Physical Assistance. Connecticut: Yale University Press. Sullivan ...
Euthanasia is not appropriate in all cases. Certain circumstances should be present. For example, a curable disease that can be completely overcome with treatment does not call for physician-assisted suicide. It is true that the patient may be in excruciating pain, just as a terminally ill patient is, but it is known that the sickness will be cured and will not last forever. The terminally ill patient, however, knows the consequences of his disease and must live everyday in pain. This patient will breathe his last breath in unbearable pain and without peace. Sure, there are people who believe medical miracles will come along, and many have that have saved innumerable amounts of lives , but the question is when. The terminally sick should not be science experiments. The law should not be able to keep them alive against their own will just in case a cure is developed, so the doctors can test it on them. What if it doesn t work? What if the sickness gets worse? That does not do any good for the patient. If the patient does want to live and try to wait for a cure that is their right, but a person should also have the right to say they do not want to wait around for something to happen.
This issue is opposed in many ways. Those against physician-assisted suicide believe that people don t need any help to commit suicide because if they really want it, they will do it themselves. This is perhaps the cruelest argument against physician-assisted suicide (506), states Maria Angell in The Supreme Court and Physician-Assisted Suicide The Ultimate Right. This argument is ridiculous because how is a sick and suffering person expected to take his or her own life. It is unthinkable to burden them with the problem of knowing that the only way to end their life without so much pain is to do it themselves. Angell also states that it sometimes would be impossible for patients to take their own lives:
... her own life if he or she is terminally ill. I strongly oppose assisted suicide if the person just wants ... I think that assisted suicides should be legal only if the person is terminally ill. The person should be able to ... should also have the right to disconnect a person from life support if he or she will never be ... having to prove that the person is terminally ill. I think that life is a right and a ...
Many patients at the end of their life are, in fact, physically unable to commit suicide on their own. Others lack the resources to do so. It has sometimes been suggested that they can simply stop eating and drinking and kill themselves that way. Although this method has been described as peaceful under certain conditions, no one should count on that. The fact is that this argument leaves most patients to their suffering. (506-507)
This argument is nothing but cruel for the fact that it only leaves more pain with a patient that is already enduring an enormous amount of other problems.
Euthanasia is in the hands of the person who is sick. It should not be determined by anyone how long a person has to suffer. How could a law forbidding euthanasia include every instance? It is not possible for those who think it is morally wrong to understand what that patient is feeling, and it is most certainly not their life to choose. As Sidney Hook says in In Defense of Voluntary Euthanasia, The responsibility for the decision, whether deemed wise or foolish, must be with the chooser (485).
Imagine switching places with the person who is asking to die. Think of the unbearable pain and hopelessness that person feels. Look at the world through their eyes that can only see desperation and fear. That is the challenge for those people who say it is wrong.
Angell, Marcia. The Supreme Court and Physician-Assisted Suicide The Ultimate Right. Elements of Argument. 6th Ed. Annette T. Rottenberg. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 500-508.
Hook, Sidney. In Defense of Voluntary Euthanasia. Elements of Argument. 6th Ed. Annette T. Rottenberg. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 483-485.
... of the patient who desires to go through euthanasia, we could say that his or her wish has some logical arguments. This wish ... and the intent of the person who helps another person die. Passive euthanasia refers to someone s helping another person to die by withholding ... by some passive or active steps taken by another person. Furthermore, today euthanasia is referred to, as passive or active that are ...
Rottenberg, Annette T. Euthanasia. Elements of Argument. 6th Ed. Annette T. Rottenberg. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin s, 2000. 481-482.