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EUTHANASIA: THE RIGHT TO LIVE VERSUS THE RIGHT TO DIE

Euthanasia: The Right to Live Versus the Right to Die

Zachary Marks

Environmental Science

Period 2

May 15, 2018

West Career and Technical Academy


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In recent discussions of euthanasia, a controversial issue has been whether it is legal for

doctors to practice. On the one hand, some argue that it should be the choice of the patient.

From this perspective, euthanasia should be illegal. On the other hand, others argue that assisted

suicide should never be an option because there is always a chance the patient could recover. In

the words of The Victoria Parliament, one of this view’s main proponents,“This will be –

because we’ve listened to the experts – the most conservative model in the world, with many

safeguards, to give people the choice they’ve been denied far too long,”. According to this view,

euthanasia can be accomplished because they are going to be reserved about who qualifies for

euthanasia. . In sum, then, the issue is whether euthanasia is legal and ethical or not.

My own view is that people should have the choice if they want to die through physician

assisted suicide. Though I concede that sometimes people get better and there is the chance the

illness could go away, I still maintain that people should ultimately have the choice to die if they

are in pain. For example, a person who only has 3 months to live with a terminal illness, they

should be able to have their last memories alive be memories of no pain. Although some might

object that there are treatments that could ultimately heal someone, I would reply that the

treatment could be extremely painful and could still not work. The issue is important because

people should not have to be hooked up to machines and should be able to have their last

moments be pain free. Ultimately, what is at stake here is the quality of life of someone who is

dying, and although the right to die may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s

concern over euthanasia.


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Euthanasia is defined as the right to choose whether you would like to end your life via

physician assisted suicide. By having this option, people can choose whether they want to

persevere through the pain and try to get better or they can choose to end their life before they

endure all of the pain. I believe that, although some may say its inhumane, people should have

the right to die a painless death and should be able to die with dignity.

People are having to resort to crazy things in order to die peacefully. Peter Nixon was

charged with the death of his father because he made a death cocktail for his father because his

father was in pain. (Nixon, I think that this is absolutely absurd because he had to take matters

into his own hands in order to give freedom to his father. People who are terminally ill just want

freedom and people are willing to do whatever it takes to get that. If someone would be willing

to kill their own father because their father is begging them to, it seems to me that there should

be legislation to combat this issue so that it is done medically and peacefully. I think that it

should be legalized because if it were, there could be regulations on it so that way people would

never take matters into their own hands. In Belgium in 2016, there was a 17 year old that became

the first minor to die by Euthanasia (EuroNews, 2016). If there was legislation passed, there

wouldn’t have to be a question as to whether this was ethical if there was a clear set law.

There are people all over who are suffering or are alive by machines. People always use

the argument that “Physician Assisted Suicide is unnatural” (Walkerman, 2017) when in fact

medicine itself is unnatural. If people are using the argument of euthanasia being unnatural, then

why are they okay with chemicals being formed into medicine? People should be allowed to

choose to die if they can also be allowed to stay hooked up to machines for the rest of their life.

People take medicines such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Tylenol, and a slew of others, which people

don’t take a second guess at. However, although shocking to these adversaries of Euthanasia, the
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pills that Americans use every day are not natural and don’t grow on trees. The people that are

claiming it is an unnatural way to die are blind to the other side of the argument, as shown in the

Political Cartoon (Walkerman, 2017).

The legislation that would be passed if it were legalized would be strict, which is

something that the opposers don’t understand. In Victoria, they passed extremely harsh

legislation that would be protective over people who are on the fence. They included 66

provisions to help ensure that this law was not abused. These provisions would include a

diagnosis of a terminal illness with less that 12 months to live, age requirements and more.

(Davey, 2017). They also consulted many experts that would help to perfect these laws, such as

the Australian Medical Association, legal experts, and palliative care specialists. These laws are

more of a reason to legalize Euthanasia. Australia can serve as an example of what we are to do.

There are provisions for the people who are worried about making a rash decision. People are

nervous, for example, about having Alzheimer's patients who are not in a correct state of mind,

or called the “mentally vulnerable”. (Smith, 2017). People who have Alzheimer's are always

going to be at a mental state of confusion and should not be reliable to make the kind of choices

such as choices of Euthanasia. This concern would be extinguished with the provisions, such as

the ones that Victoria used. I think that there are some extremes that should be accounted for

and taken into consideration, but it ultimately still should be regulated and should be passed as a

law. Although this may go against some sort of religious organizations, there needs to be a

separation of church and state. For example, in Belgium, they went against the Pope’s orders and

continued to pass a Euthanasia law. The separation of church and state should also be another

factor considered when making these laws. When it comes down to the core of the problem, they

need to keep opinions separate from facts. The Victorian Parliament supported the Right to Die
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bill by 72%. Only 13% were opposed. The poll helped to show that most of the people are in

support of the bill, meaning that it needs to be passed in other modern countries, such as

America. (Alcorn 2017).

There are many different perspectives to Euthanasia. When you boil all of the fluff and

opinions down to the cold hard facts, its clear to see that the opposers of Euthanasia are greedy

corporations that want more money for the “Health Industry.” The people who are afradi of

making the wrong choice have obviously never seen someone in the position of facing death, or

in so much pain that they are begging to die, or knowing that they are going to endure extreme

pain for a 5% chance to survive. We should not be the ones who take away the last moments of

joy from someone and replace them with months of suffering. If a patient has a right to live, they

should have a right to die.


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References

17-year-old becomes first minor to die by euthanasia in Belgium [Motion picture]. (2016).

Belgium: EuroNews. Retreived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPX1J9HmfeM

This video pertains to the legality of a minor in Belgium committing Physican Assisted

Suicide. A 17 year old in Belgium became the first minor to have the Euthanasia

procedure. Some people questioned the procedure and if the minor was able to make this

decision with a clear conscious and with a right mind.

Alcorn, G., & Davey, M. (2017, September 20). Victorians overwhelmingly support voluntary

euthanasia, survey finds. The Guardian. Retrieved from

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/21/victorians-overwhelmingly-support-

voluntary-euthanasia-survey-finds

The Victorian parliament is currently proposing a vote to legalise Euthanasia. 72% of

Victorians supported the right of adults “to choose to end their lives if they are suffering

from a terminal illness”. Only 13% were opposed, with 15% having a neutral view. 77%

supported choosing to end their life “if they are suffering from an incurable disease that is

advanced, progressive and will cause death, and which is causing suffering that cannot be

relieved”. The poll showed that the majority of people, from all walks of life, support the

law.

Davey, M., & Alcorn, G. (2017, September 19). Victoria's assisted dying bill includes severe

penalties for abuse of scheme. The Gaurdian. Retrieved from


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https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/sep/20/victorias-assisted-dying-bill-includes-

severe-penalties-for-abuse-of-scheme

Victoria is now including severe punishments in the assisted dying bill. “This will be –

because we’ve listened to the experts – the most conservative model in the world, with

many safeguards, to give people the choice they’ve been denied far too long,” Andrews

said. Victoria adds that the illness must be “causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a

manner that is tolerable to the person” while the NSW scheme says a person must be

“experiencing severe pain.”

Peter Nixon walked free from court after being acquitted for helping his sick father John to die.

(2017, December 5). The Courier Mail. Retrieved from

http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/crime-and-justice/peter-nixon-walked-

free-from-court-after-being-acquitted-for-helping-his-sick-father-john-to-die/news-

story/f1da145a7abf641f15f0e3ed0d424ca7

Peter Nixon assisted in his father's suicide. His father's last words were “You are

probably going to get yourself in a lot of trouble son, shouldn’t even be doing that.”

Nixon believed his father was in pain, even though he was already being medicated, and

believed his father needed specialist help. John suffered from arthritis, depression,

moderate dementia, a prostate condition and was in a wheelchair. But a Supreme Court

jury yesterday acquitted the Brisbane builder of helping his frail and elderly dad John to

kill himself with a cocktail of pain relief drugs and sedatives in soft drink.

Wilkinson, S. (2007). [Euthanasia Editorial Cartoon] [Political Cartoon]. Retrieved from


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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/776308054487638473

This political cartoon shows the argument that people use against euthanasia.

Winfield, N. (2017, September 13). Belgian order defies pope, insists on allowing euthanasia.

Washington

Post, National. Retrieved from

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/belgian-order-defies-pope-insists-on-

allowing-euthanasia/2017/09/13/15464c3a-989c-11e7-af6a-

6555caaeb8dc_story.html?utm_term=.4ee5a0125025

The catholic church forbids euthanasia, but in Belgium it is allowed. A Belgian religious

group has defied the pope's orders, allowing the euthanasia to be completed. There has

been an investigation looking into euthanasia from the Holy See. There are certain

qualifications you must meet in order to have euthanasia as an option.