Is Euthanasia Ever Morally Justifiable

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Is Euthanasia Ever Morally Justifiable?
Euthanasia is still a controversial topic in 2018. This is because in most places it is still illegal to use
euthanasia on severely sick or incurable people. In recent polls, according to the campaign that is
‘Dying with Dignity’, 82% of the Uk support and would like euthanasia to be legal. So why is it still
banned even if the majority of the British population want it? I will be exploring two viewpoints, a
Catholic’s and a Utilitarian’s to determine myself whether or not I think euthanasia can be morally
justified.
The Catholics viewpoint on euthanasia is overall negative. They believe in the sanctity of life they
should not meddle with God’s plans as only he should be able to give life and take it away. Their
morals are strictly influenced by the Bible which is another reason why they oppose euthanasia:
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before your life and death,
blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest
love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him:
for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD
swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them. Deuteronomy 30:19-20”
From this verse in the Bible we see how important life is to Catholic as God brought it to them and
they are all there for a reason. Therefore, someone killing another human is murder, no matter what
the situation, and the person must be under a demonic influence to commit such a crime. The
Catholics alternative to euthanasia are groups called Hospices, people come here when they are
terminally ill and wish to have a comfortable, more dignified, death. As Catholics believe that they
should tend to the poorly. This is something a Christian may use in their argument for being against
euthanasia as for them it is proven it is wrong by their God and never morally right.
The Lusitanians viewpoint will differ depending on what Ultradian you are describing. For example, a
Rule Utilitarian would only allow euthanasia if it is legal in the country when an Act Utilitarian would
only support it if the patient has chosen to be euthanized. The reason why a Utilitarian would
support euthanasia is because the amount of people and their families suffering would be shorted.
They also don't want doctors to be prosecuted for murder as doctors are vital people in our
societies. Utilitarian’s also believe that one has complete control over their body and any decisions
to be made about their body are up to them and no other authority. If a person volunteers to die in
their own will, then it is their right to make his decision and people, even the government, have no
right to interfere. Peter Singer who is a moral philosopher said this about euthanasia:
“Voluntary euthanasia occurs only when, to the best of medical knowledge, a person is suffering
from an incurable and painful or extremely distressing condition. In these circumstances one cannot
say that to choose to die quickly is obviously irrational.”
This suggests that not giving euthanasia as an option to someone who isn't going to improve and has
asked for it is inhumane and not reasonable. As a Utilitarian, not creating the greatest amount of
happiness is against their moral code. Therefore, banning or keeping euthanasia banned is wrong
and not justifiable. It is the person's life and body, they should be able to choose when they do not
want their life to continue. Increasing the amount of happiness and also decreasing pain at the same
time is definitely morally correct they could argue and morally justifiable.
Just like most things, euthanasia has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, euthanasia
gives people the chance to die with dignity, it ends suffering and and many argue it is the humane
thing to do to help someone in pain die painlessly. Stephen Hawking’s said this to the BBC about
assisted suicide:
“I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to
end their lives, and those who help them should be free from prosecution...There must be
safeguards that the person concerned genuinely wants to end their life and are not being
pressurized into it or have it done without their knowledge and consent as would have been the
case with me.”
Stephen Hawking’s was in a very good position to give his opinion about euthanasia because of his
motor neuron disease. As we can gather from his statement, euthanasia should be allowed for
certain circumstances as it is only fair on that individual and would make death a lot easier for them
so one could argue this makes it justifiable. However, it goes against a physician's oath, it goes
against ethics as no one’s should have the right to take anyone else's life, no matter the situation.
Also, if the door for euthanasia is opened, society could take it too far and use it for survival able
illnesses. This could also cause chaos as doctors would have to determine what's eligible for
euthanasia and what isn't. Peter Singer said this about the consequence of allowing euthanasia:
“Of all the arguments against voluntary euthanasia, the most influential is the 'slippery slope': once
we allow doctors to kill patients, we will not be able to limit the killing to those who want to die.”
Based on this quote, we are shown how bad society could get if euthanasia is legalised. The question
that arises is how can someone determine what's eligible for euthanasia and what isn't. If worse
came to worst, euthanasia would become very accessible and mortality rates would drop as humans
have a tendency to over use available things. Furthermore, this disadvantage almost over powers
the advantage as we cannot predict the future or how far people could take the opportunity of
euthanasia, although it could end suffering for those who may truly deserve euthanasia, people who
may not even have a terminal illness may die.
In conclusion, there are many strong arguments that support or are against euthanasia. Euthanasia
can be justified by Utilitarianism as more people would be happy from it and it is seen as the
humane thing to do. On the other hand, Christians can justify not supporting euthanasia since it is
written in their Bible to be against it and that would be going against their God. Therefore, the topic
of euthanasia is up to personal opinions, experiences and perspectives. Even though I support the
Christians view on the sanctity of life, I personally agree with what Stephen Hawking’s said about
euthanasia. Meaning that I think that it should be available in certain extreme situations as I think
that is morally justifiable as making someone suffer for the rest of their lives seems inhumane and
cruel.
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