Arguments for and against Euthanasia

Written by: Dr. Osborn
Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Arguments for and against Euthanasia

This essay will present a balanced overview of the arguments for and against euthanasia. It will explore the ethical, legal, and emotional aspects of the debate, including autonomy, quality of life, and potential abuses. The piece will examine the perspectives of various stakeholders including patients, healthcare providers, and legal experts. It will also consider the role of cultural, religious, and societal values in shaping opinions on euthanasia. PapersOwl offers a variety of free essay examples on the topic of Assisted Suicide.

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Euthanasia is also known as physician-assisted suicide or good death. It refers to the method where animals that are suffering or in discomfort are helped to rest in death. Many pet owners consider Euthanasia a more compassionate manner of bidding their beloved animals goodbye. In the case of people, many states have not legalized euthanasia for people with dementia or those suffering from incurable diseases. Euthanasia creates an ethical dilemma on three main lines: legal, medical, and philosophical. There are four different forms of euthanasia.

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These include directly assisted suicide, voluntary or active suicide, indirectly assisted suicide and involuntary or passive suicide. 

Proponents of active voluntary euthanasia claim that each person has a right to a dignified death and so all individuals have the right to decide the time and how they should die (Rosenstand pp. 653). On the other hand, opponents to this act argue that God had ordained a time when each person should die, thus doctors or patients should not interfere with that (Rosenstand 653). Although euthanasia remains illegal in most of the states in the US, others such as Colorado, Vermont, Washington, Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Montana have legalized it.

Arguments For Euthanasia

Euthanasia proponents argue that ill people deserve the right to alleviate their suffering with a compassionate, quick, and dignified death. These supporters dispute the claim that rights to death are equally protected by the constitutional demands that cover such rights as procreation, marriage, and cessation or refusal of life-saving treatment. Many media opponents of voluntary active euthanasia frequently argue that the legalization of to use of medical assistance to die is such a radical movement whose implication distresses society.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian is among the people that consider it immoral to let a dying person be in despair and great suffering. Dr. Kevorkian was imprisoned due to offering assistance to people to die compassionately. Many friends and relatives of the patients that were assisted to die by Dr. Kevorkian appreciated and supported the fact that he helped them to rest from their misery. Some philosophers in the past were against active euthanasia because they thought the act violated the individual’s autonomy. Many people generally accepted passive euthanasia citing respect for the quality of human life. Other philosophers such as John Stewart Mill argued that dementia patient has lost rationality and so they must die. Mill made this inference because euthanasia aims to alleviate suffering from both the patient and their families, hence amounting to greater happiness for a great number of the affected people. 

Arguments Against Euthanasia

The people that oppose the concept of euthanasia are concerned with the fact that physician-assisted suicide communicates an unsafe message to society that death is the way out of life’s problems. Some clinical workers and psychologists claim that terminally ill patients that request physicians to assist them to die do not want to die. When people are made to know that they are suffering from incurable diseases, most of them spiral into a deep depression and they should not be served with the option of giving up. Although Dr. Kevorkian thought he offered patients some help, the rational jury charged him with second-degree murder since many states have not legalized euthanasia. Immanuel Kant and other philosophers were against euthanasia regardless of the state of the individual’s physical or mental health. The philosopher believed that people ought to act in a manner that can be accepted as a universal law. Therefore, when assisting patients to die, we ought to be willing that euthanasia becomes a universal law that can be applied to anyone. Besides, Kant asserted that rational duty and not emotional reasoning should guide us in doing moral things.

Final Assessment

It is thus clear that both the supporting and opposing side to this subject have substantial claims and each side gives patients certain rights. Since death is inevitable, our reactions to patients’ desire for death on their terms ought to be approached with an open mind. Respecting each individual’s desire would imply that each person should have a right to choose when they need to depart this life. Although I do not advocate for murder, I believe one has a personal choice to voluntary euthanasia. Americans have the freedom to make various choices in life such as abortion, same-sex marriage, and so forth. Therefore, legalizing euthanasia should not be a crime. It is not fair to deny individuals suffering from an incurable disease or loss of autonomy the right to overcome agonizing symptoms through compassionate death. Regardless of the opponents to physician-assisted suicide, they do not experience the pain and suffering themselves and so they are not entitled to interfere or challenge the patient’s personal choice. None could know what a better option is than the patient suffering from a terminally ill condition. I was also against euthanasia until my father voluntarily requested to die with dignity when his illness made his life unenjoyable. Since I cannot ponder my death going through a slow and painful departure, I am sure that none wants to witness their beloved suffer such an experience. 

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Arguments For and Against Euthanasia. (2019, Mar 13). Retrieved from