Response to: Debating the moral dilemma behind euthanasia

Mariana Garza, Contributing Writer

When it comes to the topic of euthanasia, most of us will readily agree that we should determine the circumstances of our awaited deaths. Where this agreement usually ends, however, is on the question of assisted suicide for the suffering. Whereas some are convinced that assisted suicide is a personal decision, others maintain that the push to recovery should be pursued.

The Encyclopedia of American Law categorizes mercy killing as a class of criminal homicide, according to Through the use of euthanasia, the individual passes away painlessly; however, the act itself is grotesque and illegal. Many would state that mercy killing frees the individual from suffering. However, the act of mercy killing destroys the creation of two beings and that person furthermore ceases to exist. Euthanasia is an elimination of the importance and value in human life. It also violates the Greek Hippocratic oath (460-337 BC), which states that a doctor must reject any form of killing and devote themselves to healing patients.

Euthanasia is often described as mercy killing. Many, like my opponent, claim that patients given euthanasia can die with dignity. However, from a personal point of view, accepting or requesting euthanasia means that a person has basically given up all hope. It is understandable that the patient cannot endure suffering anymore. However, how can a person (truly) die with dignity when they are taking the easy way out? If a terminally ill patient did not show any signs of improvement over a period of time, and died of natural causes; at least family and friends could say they pushed through the pain instead of giving up. Also, if euthanasia was legal and doctors kept killing off their patients, doctors would struggle even more to find a cure.

If mercy killing was legal, it would be safe to say that we would see an increase in the use of euthanasia. Many doctors would become morally unethical because the practice of mercy killing would be considered okay. Terminally ill patients would be pressured into taking euthanasia because of their critical condition or everlasting illness. If a patient took euthanasia, their family would have wasted thousands of dollars with no hope of keeping their loved one alive. This newfound motivation to kill or in other words, spare, would drastically change the opinion of the public in both provoking and aggravating ways.

Legalized “mercy killing” has resulted in increasing use, and has not remained a small number of cases in countries in which it has been implemented. In the Netherlands the use of euthanasia has more than doubled since its’ legalization in 2003, according to the Daily Telegraph. The article points out a situation in which an elderly dementia patient was killed based on a single, lucid moment in which she asked for death. Is it likely that the patient would have wished to be killed if not been asked during a period of pain and stress? Is it possible we are killing people who make impulse decisions during a period of stress rather than being fully aware of the consequences? The possibility for these could be “mercy killing”, but rather cases of suicide.

In conclusion, then, as I suggested earlier, defenders of euthanasia can’t have it both ways. The assertion that doctors should be able to assist terminally ill patients with dying as quickly as possible is contradicted by the facts we know about suicide. People have a primitive desire to remain alive, and suicidal tendencies are usually associated with feelings of despair. Death brought on by euthanasia is a poor substitute for even a few more minutes of life which if we as individuals and as a society did not value, we would have no purpose on this earth.