Euthanasia Arguments for and against Euthanasia

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In opposition of euthanasia, critics of its legalization present four main arguments, namely religious, slippery slope, medical ethics and alternative argument. However, modern medical care has relevant facilities to provide comfort and dignity to a dying patient without the need of legalizing euthanasia. Introduction Euthanasia remains one of the most controversial in the society today. The practice has been in existence for a long time but recently, calls for legalizing it have become more intense, in order to accord the patient the right to die with dignity and comfort. Euthanasia should not be legalized in society because there are other more humane medical interventions to guarantee a respectable death to a patient. However, the society remains polarized in opinion as far a legalization of the practice is concerned. This paper explores the various arguments for and against euthanasia in addition to the ethical consequences of providing and denying euthanasia to patients. Literature Review Care (2010, p1) defines euthanasia as deliberate killing by an act or omission of an individual whose life is considered not to be worthy of living. … The second circumstance involves prescription of pain killing medications, in situation where such medicines are known to have a likelihood of causing premature or early death (Care, 2010). In case a patient dies from taking such medicine, the doctor cannot be accused of undertaking euthanasia because the intention is to reduce the pain but not cause death. Finally, refusal by a mentally astute individual to take life saving treatment is not considered as euthanasia because the physicians cannot compel an individual to take medication against his or her will (Care, 2010). According to Kappel (2007), patients have a right to accept or refuse treatment. In case a patient dies from his or her refusal to take the prescribed treatment, the doctor cannot be accused of carrying out euthanasia. Proponents of euthanasia have advanced various arguments pertaining to why the practice should be legalized. Several arguments have emerged from people supporting euthanasia including equivalence, mercy, golden rule, autonomy and public policy in addition to the best interests’ arguments (Thomasma, 1996). Compassionate argument holds that euthanasia is needed in the society in order to allow people to die with dignity. From this point of view, it is more humane to instigate euthanasia on a severely suffering and terminally ill patient, rather than subjecting such an individual to longer period of more pain and distress. The autonomy argument is founded on the conviction that the patient has the right to determine when to die. The public policy argument postulates that the practice could be regulated in the society by the government through legislation and enforcement of