Debating the moral dilemma behind euthanasia

Joey Hein, Contributing Writer

When it comes to the topic of euthanasia, most of us will readily agree that preservation of life is the utmost of importance. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of assisted suicide for the suffering being an available option. Although some are convinced that suicide is wrong, others maintain that the choice should be ours assuming the option be readily available. reminds us that those who argue for euthanasia rights plead, “Ill people should have the right to end their suffering with a quick, dignified, and compassionate death.” This is based off the notion that the right to die is as constitutional as any other right to live; such as marriage, procreation, and the refusal or termination of burdensome life-saving medical treatment. Motivating factors for voluntary cases are of course primarily due to illness-related discomfort, but threats to a sense of self and fear of the future add to a patient’s reasoning behind wanting physician assisted death.

Patients may not be found terminal at the time but because of these and additional factors, the life they are living is not satisfactory and will not be anytime soon. In the words of Joseph Arvay, a plaintiff for several patients pleading for physician assisted dying, “The human condition is that no one wants to die if living is better.” Therefore euthanasia should be available for those who seek it and deserve it.

Concerning involuntary cases, or patients who are incapable of otherwise making decisions concerning their health, their family is reliable for any decisions. So those comatose, senile, infantile, disturbed, or overly so mentally retarded, are in the hands of those they depend on. Euthanasia in practice could be utilized by families who have their loved ones hooked up to machines and non-receptive; leeching for money and attention. Of course euthanasia is only a last resort and viable option for those whose life is towards its end or not worth living.

In the Netherlands where euthanasia is legal, non-voluntary euthanasia counted for more than half of the cases but it has since become a goal to lower these statistics so only those who want and deserve to pass away, can. The same is said for voluntary cases, where the goal is to save grief and prolonged pain.

The opposing side is right in saying assisted suicide is illegal, however for those who do not know, suicide is legal in nearly every state, and being able to pursue professional help for your death is noble indeed. Laws are only a basis for justice and sometimes it is fit to update, change, or remove laws for greater liberty. It is also worth noting that the opposing side is mistaken concerning doctors using euthanasia as an easy way out for those whom aren’t ‘worth treating.’ It is legal and common practice for doctors and patients to decide to stop overly troublesome treatment and that is not seen to be euthanasia.

As Americans and more importantly as people, we pride ourselves on being able to make our own decisions and choose our own path. Shouldn’t we have the choice to choose to end our path if desirable?