Euthanasia, a common term used for assisted death, refers to the process where a person’s life is taken so as to end their pain and suffering. The term is derived from the Greek word meaning good death (Patil, 2013). The moral consequences attached to such an act can become quite complicated. Philosophical debates on the matter have been prevalent since olden Greek times, with both views for and against the act being prevalent (Landry, Foreman, and Kekewich, 2015). There are philosophers who believe that the right to ending one’s life is in their own hands, while others contend that it is morally unacceptable. Immanuel Kant was one of the philosophers who were against assisted death, which is the view that will be discussed further. The aim of the paper is to provide an argument against physician-assisted death, keeping in mind the contentions of Kant.
There generally exist two forms of assisted death: Active and passive. Passive assisted death constitutes simply removing the individual from the circumstances that could be aiding in their staying life. For instance, a person’s life support would be switched off to let them pass on peacefully, as it was only the medical instruments keeping him/her alive (Landry, Foreman, and Kekewich, 2015). In the case of active physician-assisted death, the person is provided with a means to end their life, which is generally done through overdosing on drugs or simply being provided a lethal drug (Landry, Foreman, and Kekewich, 2015). In most cases, the physician is the one who aids the process. For that to work, the person who wishes to end their life must actually be of sound mental health and capable of making such a decision on their own, while also being at a stage where the illness or disability is terminal.
Assisted death is essentially the painless act of putting one out of their misery by letting them die, in the case of them having an incurable disease or being terminal. The act is painless, intentional, and only meant for those who will be dying sooner or later, and only wish to speed up the process to forego the pain (Banovic, Turanjanin, and Miloradovic, 2017). Moreover, assisted death is carried out only in the case of the terminal diagnosis being a hundred percent accurate, with the pain being unbearable.
Religious and Philosophical Perspectives on Euthanasia
Proponents of euthanasia use the terminology “right to die” to debate that individuals hold a right to die off. They are under extreme pain that will ultimately lead to death in any case. Though death is an inevitable aspect for the human body given its vulnerability and constantly being in the process of aging, and perhaps it can be delayed or hastened but never forced. Death is inevitable, explicit, indispensable, and is a universal singularity that is an axiom for all living things on this planet.
Proponents of euthanasia also debate that in certain antediluvian societies suicide was not illegal, yet they forget that it was always frowned upon. Moreover, decriminalization of suicide or an assisted form of it is not bringing about any rights of dying by suicide. If a right like that existed in a society, then rationalism says that there also exists a duty for individuals to not provide treatment to those who have attempted suicide. In essence, if people have a right to choosing suicide, then a correlative obligation also exists to not prevent people from making that decision.
The promoters of euthanasia give stores of significant worth to people’s right to independence and self-assurance. Regard for self-rule and autonomy is the primary necessity recorded in the standards made fitting by biomedical ethicists. It alludes to an individual’s entitlement to self-decide in each activity. It is the characteristic right of an individual to settle on choices dependent on their developments of what is correct, what is wrong, what is suitable, and what isn’t. The independent individual self-shapes the preeminent principle. It overwhelms the social self; the self that frames relations to other individuals, family, and networks. Self-rule is likewise the right that sees triumph over all other rights. It renders unsettled many commitments, responsibilities, or contemplations which may harm or hurt the individual included.
The longing to ascribe essential significance to self-rule might appeal at first sight, and no specialist taught in the moral zeitgeist which is obviously, persistent focused would set out damage somebody’s self-rule or self-assurance by ignoring or affronting their entitlement to settle on close to home decisions. It would be akin to tyranny which is seen by progressives as an intolerable off-base. Besides, the procedure by which autonomy or self-rule is executed or rehearsed in medication or in-law is through the approach of educated assent.
It requests that the patient be completely mindful of everything being equal, damages, advantages, or potential fatalities associated with the proposed strategy and its sensible options. In a consistent result, the patient looking for euthanasia must be educated or offered full satisfactory palliative therapeutic consideration. In addition, the patient must be totally rationally skilled, and in this way, assent must be deliberate; free from pressure, a worry of impact. In the event of terminally ill patients, who more often than not look for willful extermination, their conditions are rarely satisfied.
Assisted death is basically assisted suicide and is seen as being wrong in general. But, it is evident that certain scenarios may encourage a person to change their stance on the matter. Among the adverse consequences of assisted death is that we are not living in this world in isolation. Rather, we have relationships with other people; people who are close to us and whom we would be hurting through such an act. By opting for such a death, we would be preventing the fulfillment of our obligations towards those people (Quill, Back, and Block, 2016). Moreover, if assisted death was made permissible, then there would automatically be a rise in the number of such deaths, which in turn will increase the level of sadness among those that are left behind.
There are plenty of arguments that are in support of physician-assisted death, and they are quite powerful in their own right. But, Kant’s viewpoint is reliant on a completely diverse thought process and brings forth a contention that is even more powerful than the counterarguments provided (Battin, Rhodes, and Silvers, 2015). We must not forget that life is a privilege that must not be brought to an end willingly, and not even physicians have the right to assist a person in the process.
Evaluation of Different Ethical Perspectives
In the final analysis, there are several ethical issues that fail to be addressed in the debate of euthanasia legality. The effect and unintentional penalties of making euthanasia legal in medicine and in legal institutions are simply unrelenting. Additionally, the inquiry emerges; in what capacity will the legitimization of euthanasia and its training in regular medicinal for change the ethos of biomedicine? The dangers are tremendous and grave in nature, maybe even vast. What will happen to the reasoning and basic leadership procedure of the doctors engaged with euthanasia or assisted suicide? Given that, in the wake of legitimizing suicide, the training will come into the schedule, and a particular plausibility remains that passing will turn into an insignificant issue and the avenues of mindful medicinal consideration will stay unexplored and overlooked.
In addition, what will be the intolerable, destructive reactions on the general public for tolerating the language of euthanasia? They state, the language one uses reflects reality as well as develops it. A language loaded with a code word for euthanasia will just add to the battles to recognize a genuine north on the ethical compass of the therapeutic field. In spite of the fact, that religion used to be the rule transporter of ethics and regard for life in the milieu yet in mainstream social orders, this obligation has fallen on the shoulders of law and medicine as esteem making, conveying, and outcome shaping structures of the general public (Patil, 2013). The law disallows suicide and specialists make a vow not to dispense it. Their ideas should never be repealed or neglected while authorizing willful extermination. For willful extermination is helped murder. It is, in the end, hurtful for people, particularly powerless individuals, doctors, the organizations of lawyers and doctors, and the general public. Besides, the healing job of specialists and euthanasia are shafts separated, and they are poles apart.
Ethical Self Awareness
Killing someone is basically wrong, no matter how we look at it, and euthanasia is more or less the same thing for a lot of people. Even so, there can arise a variety of circumstances in one’s life where they feel as if they would be better off dead. For instance, a bedridden individual is unable to do anything apart from lying in bed all day for eternity (Battin, Rhodes, and Silvers, 2015). Questions are bound to be raised in their mind about simply ending it because they are not really living life in any case (Battin, Rhodes, and Silvers, 2015). In such a scenario, let the person die might actually be seen as a good deed. But life holds a lot of value, so all the controversial elements attached to assisted death have a lot of relevance.
There exist philosophical points of view on the basis of which the ethics concerned with an act are judged only through the outcomes. Considering that, we can say that assisted death is a moral act due to the advantages that come about. As a result, i.e., no more pain. But you will no longer be able to feel anything once the act is done (Battin, Rhodes, and Silvers, 2015). The viewpoint of Kant differs from the utilitarian perspective. Just because assisted death may have a positive outcome, does not justify the act. The act matters more than its outcome.
Life is a gift, and every human being has the right to live as they wish to. Having that said, the right to take away one’s life can be considered justified under some circumstances. Cases where adults demand euthanasia under severe physical pain or painful treatments may be allowed after careful psychiatric evaluation. But suicide under mental instability is not an appreciated act. Considering the high suicidal trends in the U.S., there is a dire need of mental illness awareness programs to be carried out, to create an awakening in the people so they can help those in need. Depression is called a silent killer, but the sufferer shows certain patterns that can be identified. Such patients do not seek help, and hence the awareness among their surroundings can help save their lives.
If humanity is based on moral reasoning, then committing an immoral act is implying that physician-assisted death is contradicting humanity itself. Suicide or assisted death is a contradiction. According to Kant, the significance of one’s life is nothing in comparison to the significance of morality. Kant’s view is quite diverse when it comes to assisted death, but he remains adamant about the fact that such an act should not be permissible on account of the fact that it ultimately goes against the concept of humanity and brings more pain for those around the individual. Happiness or depression is not what matters here. Rather, it is about being autonomous and humane, which serve as much better values in comparison to what makes one happy and we should look at the scenario from that perspective.
It is suggested that the use of euthanasia must not be legalized as it will give people an unethical way to end their lives. The healthcare professionals must be trained in a more specific manner for a particular class of diseased people so that it is not come to them asking for euthanasia in any case. The use of euthanasia is highly opposed. Everyone has the right to die when their real-time comes, and not when they think they must leave the world. Life is a gift that must be appreciated, even if it is on a bed. The presence of a person can mean a lot to people. The people would have their loved ones with them, even if it means being on a chair or a bed.