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Legalization of Euthanasia

The proponents of legalization of euthanasia are the ones who have seen their loved ones die in suffering. This is in case such an individual did not benefit from the palliative care. Indeed, such individuals do not advocate for the so called ‘right to die’ but rather for the opportinity to be subjected to death by a doctor (Draper 1998, p. 225). Thus, people argue that doctors should be legalized rights to kill patients upon their request. This is a wrong response as precedent cases should not be used for legalizing killing as illness may be different. We should provide a remedy to the hard cases for the better future. The most fundamental thing is that we do not need to change our laws regarding euthanasia; instead, we should improve our level of healthcare.

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Autonomy of an individual is very important in any society. However, such freedom has limits. Rights of an individual must be protected - something that should be balanced with responsibilities concerning individual’s life (Steinberg 2006, p. 180). Thus, there is no man who can make any decision, especially the one concerning death, without affecting other people, especially friends or relatives. The hospice workers involved in such decisions are also affected as they are expected to be accountable for the life of patients under their care. More specifically, the decision to terminate the life of an individual can have a long term effect on the society (Draper 1998, p. 29). Such people may develop anger, bitterness as well as guilt. Thus, individual autonomy is not complete by itself. Personal decisions especially, those concerning life and death, should be limited.

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Legalization of voluntary euthanasia in one country may have propounding effects on others. The neighbouring states will be eventually impacted by such legislation, and this may precipitate their future changes to legalize euthanasia (Mannes 1975, p. 45). Thus, the practice will be spread in the entire world, which may have adverse effects on the healthcare. It is evident that any state seeking to change its law in regard to euthanasia will not only affect its own people but the entire international community.

Moreover, legalization of voluntary euthanasia may result into involuntary one, despite its legislation purposes. According to the Remmelink research carried out by the Dutch Ministry of Justice, over 3,000 of deaths due to the euthanasia were observed in Netherlands in 1990, and above 1,000 of them were involuntarily done (Steinberg 2006, p. 56). This was followed by legalization of euthanasia in 1994, and as a result, most patients were killed upon their request. For example, there was a case where a child was killed for just having abnormal genitalia. Besides, there was also a case of a woman being subjected to euthanasia upon her request, just because she had mental suffering. Other examples of instances where involuntary euthanasia was practiced were during the Nazi’s holocaust (Stolberg 2007, p. 189). During this era, there was a euthanasia movement that was pegged on a dominant attitude that there was ‘life not worthy living’. Thus, the chronically ill and the unproductive members of the society were killed. Historically, it has, therefore, been shown that if voluntary euthanasia becomes endorsed, involuntary euthanasia follows it, which results in denial of individual’s right to life.

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In conclusion, it is important to understand that when physical, emotional and spiritual needs of an individual with a terminal illness are met, request of voluntary euthanasia is not likely to occur. There are many therapies that can be used to manage symptoms that may prompt one to request voluntary euthanasia. Thus, terminal care should be advanced and made readily available. On the other hand, the autonomy of a patient should be recognized. However, one should consider the effects one’s euthanasia will have on their close people and society on the whole. Legislation allowing voluntary euthanasia should be resisted by all states on the grounds that it denies patients compassionate care and eventually undermines the freedom of an individual rather than protecting the autonomy of the patient.

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