Slippery Slope of Euthanasia: Essay about Both Sides

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Euthanasia: the right to die or the right to kill?

Throughout the years, there has been a continuous debate over the morality of euthanasia implementation for terminally ill patients. Euthanasia is often referred to as a “mercy killing”, as well as “rational suicide”. Essentially, it is an act of ending a life or allowing the death of terminally ill individuals with the aim of relieving their near-death sufferings. Euthanasia can be performed actively, meaning that a doctor administers a lethal drug to a patient; conversely, passive euthanasia implies the shutdown of life-sustaining devices. In addition to this, euthanasia may be voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary; the former suggests the free choice of the patient to end his or her life, middle one, however, is executed for patients who are not mentally or physically competent to make a choice, latter one suggests killing a dying person, even if he or she chooses to live. Currently, the practice of voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia is legal in a limited number of counties. Although theoretically euthanasia may be presented as a morally sound action, practically, it does not bring as many benefits as it may seem Euthanasia: the right to die or the right to kill?

Throughout the years, there has been a continuous debate over the morality of euthanasia implementation for terminally ill patients. Euthanasia is often referred to as a “mercy killing”, as well as “rational suicide”. Essentially, it is an act of ending a life or allowing the death of terminally ill individuals with the aim of relieving their near-death sufferings. Euthanasia can be performed actively, meaning that a doctor administers a lethal drug to a patient; conversely, passive euthanasia implies the shutdown of life-sustaining devices. In addition to this, euthanasia may be voluntary, non-voluntary, and involuntary; the former suggests the free choice of the patient to end his or her life, the middle one, however, is executed for patients who are not mentally or physically competent to make a choice, latter one suggests killing a dying person, even if he or she chooses to live. Currently, the practice of voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia is legal in a limited number of counties. Although theoretically euthanasia may be presented as a morally sound action, practically, it does not bring as many benefits as it may seem

Throughout the years, there has been a continuous debate over the morality of euthanasia implementation for terminally ill patients. Euthanasia is often referred to as a “mercy killing”, as well as “rational suicide”. Essentially, it is an act of ending a life or allowing the death of terminally ill individuals with the aim of relieving their near-death sufferings. Euthanasia can be performed actively, meaning that a doctor administers a lethal drug to a patient; conversely, passive euthanasia implies the shutdown of life-sustaining devices. In addition to this, euthanasia may be voluntary, non-voluntary, or involuntary; the former suggests the free choice of the patient to end his or her life, middle one, however, is executed for patients who are not mentally or physically competent to make a choice, latter one suggests killing a dying person, even if he or she chooses to live. Currently, the practice of voluntary and non-voluntary euthanasia is legal in a limited number of counties. Although theoretically euthanasia may be presented as a morally sound action, practically, it does not bring as many benefits as it may seem.

One common misconception that euthanasia defenders maintain is a denial of the well-recognized slippery slope argument. Proponents believe euthanasia may be controlled by the government without casualties. 'When a country legalizes active euthanasia, it puts itself on a slippery slope from where it may well go further downward. Essentially, the slippery slope argument states that the legalization of assisted suicide may lead to softening other amoral practices, such as involuntary and non-voluntary euthanasia in the long run. It was estimated that more than 20 percent of patients who went through the euthanasia process were not mentally competent to give their consensus on assisted suicide when it was implemented the slippery slope argument’s validity can be confirmed; not only the alleged “morality” argument can be demolished, but also the freedom of choice that is often associated with euthanasia by proponents, which will be discussed in following paragraphs. In such a way, as euthanasia becomes more and more prevalent, such practice may lead to the normalization of suicide and underestimation of the importance of preserving one’s life. By considering the following information, the commencement of the slippery slope effect in the Netherlands may be observed: the state of patients liable for euthanasia has been extended to curable patients, children, people with Down syndrome and dementia, mentally ill, in some cases, even involuntary euthanasia, and treatable AIDS patients.

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Proponents of euthanasia seem to heavily rely on the claim that it is, in fact, respect for one’s life, independence, and choice; in other words, they believe that if one has a “right to live” therefore he or she has a “right to die”. This argument is hard not to agree with, due to its persuasiveness and, at first glance, logicality. However, this argument can be criticized on several counts. First and foremost, the mental state of incurably ill patients is neglected by euthanasia supporters. Terminally ill patients are exceedingly prone to depression, dismay, and angst, which is nothing but apparent. That being said, such patients have little to no place for an objective sense of reality, meaning they can be susceptible to any type of influence. In fact, less than 10 percent of terminally-ill individuals in the Netherlands, one of few countries where euthanasia is legal, received psychiatric assessments for depression furthermore, 39 percent of patients who received euthanasia had depression. Those pieces of statistics strongly support the claim that terminally ill patients’ mental state may hinder them from making an independent decision, additionally, their psychological health is seldom assessed before proceeding to assisted suicide procedure. In addition to this, patients who consider euthanasia may feel pressure from the side of their family, due to expensiveness of palliative care and life-sustaining devices; in fact, 7.9 percent of assisted suicide cases in the United States were motivated by pecuniary challenges of terminally ill patients’ families. Several pieces of Dutch data have suggested that in 11 percent, physical pain was either the only or principal reason for euthanasia, that is to say, not always euthanasia is utilized with its primary intentions and objectives. Thus, the “rational” suicide rationality may be discredited rather easily.

Yet another reason for legalizing euthanasia advocates adduce is the morality of such practice. They argue that ceasing the suffering of incurably ill individuals is an ethically right decision to make, moreover, it promotes the sacredness and integrity of human life. However, the very statement “killing a person or letting him or her die is preserving the sanctity of life” sounds more or less, counterintuitive. On the contrary, the act of euthanasia may be considered as a depreciation of human life. “True compassion does not eliminate the sufferer but seeks to relieve the cause of the suffering. Otherwise, the life of the patient is devalued.” the referred relief of the suffering is, as opposed to the cessation of suffering, quite overlooked by proponents of euthanasia. What happens in actuality is that euthanasia starts to be seen as an “easy way out” by both patients and physicians. The very option of getting euthanized may demotivate an individual to continue the battle for his or her life; similarly, it can impede the physician from employing every possible means for treating or alleviating the patient’s pain. Statistics seem to be consistent with prior assertions, too; A statistical research from the Netherlands concluded that in 9 percent of euthanasia in nursing homes not all means of palliative care was employed before ceasing a patient’s life[ CITATION Eze99 l 1033 ]; moreover, 60 percent were not receiving hospice care [ CITATION Eze99 l 1033 ]. Helping a terminally ill patient to mitigate the physical suffering therefore may, one day, become the peripheral or secondary aim of medicine.

ll factors considered, it seems reasonable to conclude that the detrimental outcomes of legalizing euthanasia across countries outweigh its possible advantages. One way or another, euthanasia legitimization is a risky policy, as it gives doctors a power most governments do not have power over one’s life; “If there is a Devil, he is surely a fervent opponent of decriminalization” [ CITATION Gri98 l 1033 ]. Furthermore, it diminishes the importance of life, suggesting it is better to be dead than terminally or mentally ill; in some cases, merely being a financial burden for a family: giving suicide as an available option can make even non-terminally, but severely ill

All factors considered, it seems reasonable to conclude that the detrimental outcomes of legalizing euthanasia across countries outweigh its possible advantages. One way or another, euthanasia legitimization is a risky policy, as it gives doctors a power most governments do not have power over one’s life; “If there is a Devil, he is surely a fervent opponent of decriminalization”. Furthermore, it diminishes the importance of life, suggesting it is better to be dead than terminally or mentally ill; in some cases, merely being a financial burden for a family: giving suicide as an available option can make even non-terminally, but severely ill patients consider euthanasia, in order to not inflict hardships for their families. Hence, allowing euthanasia is a subject of much jeopardy and should not be legalized.

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Slippery Slope of Euthanasia: Essay about Both Sides. (2023, September 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/slippery-slope-of-euthanasia-essay-about-both-sides/
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