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An argument against euthanasia performed by doctors in the united states

This argument says that euthanasia is bad because of the sanctity of human life. There are four main reasons why people think we shouldn't kill human beings: All human beings are to be valued, irrespective of age, sex, race, religion, social status or their potential for achievement Human life is a basic good as opposed to an instrumental good, a good in itself rather than as a means to an end Human life is sacred because it's a gift from God Therefore the deliberate taking of human life should be prohibited except in self-defence or the legitimate defence of others We are valuable for ourselves The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else.

The fact that we are human has value in itself. Our inherent value doesn't depend on anything else - it doesn't depend on whether we are having a good life that we enjoy, or whether we are making other people's lives better.

  • Would she have the strength to refuse what everyone in the nursing home "expected" from seriously ill elderly people?
  • A C Grayling, Guardian 2001 Top Devalues some lives Some people fear that allowing euthanasia sends the message, "it's better to be dead than sick or disabled";
  • Effective palliative care gives the patient and their loved ones a chance to spend quality time together, with as much distress removed as possible;
  • Medical decision-makers already face difficult moral dilemmas in choosing between competing demands for their limited funds;
  • Financial considerations, added to the concern about "being a burden," could serve as powerful forces that would lead a person to "choose" euthanasia or assisted suicide;
  • You matter because you are you.

We exist, so we have value. Most of us agree with that - though we don't put it in philosopher-speak. We say that we don't think that we should use other people - which is a plain English way of saying that we shouldn't treat other people as a means to our own ends.

We must respect our own value It applies to us too. We shouldn't treat ourselves as a means to our own ends. And this means that we shouldn't end our lives just because it seems the most effective way of putting an end to our suffering.

To do that is not to respect our inherent worth. Top The slippery slope Many people worry that if voluntary euthanasia were to become legal, it would not be long before involuntary euthanasia would start to happen.

We concluded that it was virtually impossible to ensure that all acts of euthanasia were truly voluntary and that any liberalisation of the law in the United Kingdom could not be abused. We were also concerned that vulnerable people - the elderly, lonely, sick or distressed - would feel pressure, whether real or imagined, to request early death.

In general form it says that if we allow something relatively harmless today, we may start a trend that results in something currently unthinkable becoming accepted. Those who oppose this argument say that properly drafted legislation can draw a firm barrier across the slippery slope. Various forms of the slippery slope argument If we change the law and accept voluntary euthanasia, we will not be able to keep it under control.

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Proponents of euthanasia say: Euthanasia would never be legalised without proper regulation and control mechanisms in place Doctors may soon start killing people without bothering with their permission. There is a huge difference between killing people who ask for death under appropriate circumstances, and killing people without their permission Very few people are so lacking in moral understanding that they would ignore this distinction Very few people are so lacking in intellect that they can't make the distinction above Any doctor who would ignore this distinction probably wouldn't worry about the law anyway Health an argument against euthanasia performed by doctors in the united states costs will lead to doctors killing patients to save money or free up beds: The main reason some doctors support voluntary euthanasia is because they believe that they should respect their patients' right to be treated as autonomous human beings That is, when doctors are in favour of euthanasia it's because they want to respect the wishes of their patients So doctors are unlikely to kill people without their permission because that contradicts the whole motivation for allowing voluntary euthanasia But cost-conscious doctors are more likely to honour their patients' requests for death A 1998 study found that doctors who are cost-conscious and 'practice resource-conserving medicine' are significantly more likely to write a lethal prescription for terminally-ill patients [Arch.

The Nazis are not a useful moral example, because their actions are almost universally regarded as both criminal and morally wrong The Nazis embarked on invountary euthanasia as a deliberate political act - they didn't slip into it from voluntary euthanasia although at first they did pretend it was for the benefit of the patient What the Nazis did wasn't euthanasia by even the widest definition, it was the use of murder to get rid of people they disapproved of The universal horror at Nazi euthanasia demonstrates that almost everyone can make the distinction between voluntary and involuntary euthanasia The example of the Nazis has made people more sensitive to the dangers of involuntary euthanasia Allowing voluntary euthanasia makes it easier to commit murder, since the perpetrators can disguise it as active voluntary euthanasia.

The law is able to deal with the possibility of self-defence or suicide being used as disguises for murder.

  1. Ending a patient's life by injection is quicker and easier and cheaper.
  2. In such a climate, euthanasia certainly could become a means of cost containment. A C Grayling, Guardian 2001 Top Devalues some lives Some people fear that allowing euthanasia sends the message, "it's better to be dead than sick or disabled".
  3. Most of us agree with that - though we don't put it in philosopher-speak. We must respect our own value It applies to us too.
  4. The main reason some doctors support voluntary euthanasia is because they believe that they should respect their patients' right to be treated as autonomous human beings That is, when doctors are in favour of euthanasia it's because they want to respect the wishes of their patients So doctors are unlikely to kill people without their permission because that contradicts the whole motivation for allowing voluntary euthanasia But cost-conscious doctors are more likely to honour their patients' requests for death A 1998 study found that doctors who are cost-conscious and 'practice resource-conserving medicine' are significantly more likely to write a lethal prescription for terminally-ill patients [Arch. Within eighteen months of Measure 16's passage, the State of Oregon announced plans to cut back on health care coverage for poor state residents.

It will thus be able to deal with this case equally well To dress murder up as euthanasia will involve medical co-operation. The need for a conspiracy will make it an unattractive option Many are needlessly condemned to suffering by the chief anti-euthanasia argument: A C Grayling, Guardian 2001 Top Devalues some lives Some people fear that allowing euthanasia sends the message, "it's better to be dead than sick or disabled".

The subtext is that some lives are not worth living. Not only does this put the sick or disabled at risk, it also downgrades their status as human beings while they are alive. The disabled person's perspective Part of the problem is that able-bodied people look at things from their own perspective and see life with a disability as a disaster, filled with suffering and frustration.

Some societies have regarded people with disabilities as inferior, or as a burden on society.

Those in favour of eugenics go further, and say that society should prevent 'defective' people from having children. Others go further still and say that those who are a burden on society should be eliminated. People with disabilities don't agree.

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All people should have equal rights and opportunities to live good lives Many individuals with disabilities enjoy living Many individuals without disabilities don't enjoy living, and no-one is threatening them The proper approach to people with disabilities is to provide them with appropriate support, not to kill them The quality of a person's life should not be assessed by other people The quality of life of a person with disabilities should not be assessed without providing proper support first Opposition to this argument Supporters of euthanasia would respond that this argument includes a number of completely misleading suggestions, and refute them: Some examples are listed below: They say that most of these problems can be identified by assessing the patient properly, and, if necessary, the system should discriminate against the opinions of people who are particularly vulnerable.

Chochinov and colleagues found that fleeting or occasional thoughts of a desire for death were common in a an argument against euthanasia performed by doctors in the united states of people who were terminally ill, but few patients expressed a genuine desire for death. Will to live in the terminally ill.

Other people have rights too Euthanasia is usually viewed from the viewpoint of the person who wants to die, but it affects other people too, and their rights should be considered. It includes compassion and support for family and friends. Competent palliative care may well be enough to prevent a person feeling any need to contemplate euthanasia.

You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life and we will do all we can to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die. Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement The key to successful palliative care is to treat the patient as a person, not as a set of symptoms, or medical problems.

The World Health Organisation states that palliative care affirms life and regards dying as a normal process; it neither hastens nor postpones death; it provides relief from pain and suffering; it integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of the patient.

  1. The disabled person's perspective Part of the problem is that able-bodied people look at things from their own perspective and see life with a disability as a disaster, filled with suffering and frustration.
  2. We shouldn't treat ourselves as a means to our own ends. To do that is not to respect our inherent worth.
  3. The doctor will provide information to the patient to help them make their decision Since doctors give patients the information on which they will base their decisions about euthanasia, any legalisation of euthanasia, no matter how strictly regulated , puts doctors in an unacceptable position of power.
  4. Patients are forced to endure long waits for many types of needed surgery.

Making things better for patient, family and friends The patient's family and friends will need care too. Palliative care aims to enhance the quality of life for the family as well as the patient. Effective palliative care gives the patient and their loved ones a chance to spend quality time together, with as much distress removed as possible. They can if they want to use this time to bring any unfinished business in their lives to a proper closure and to say their last goodbyes.

Palliative care should aim to make it easier and more attractive for family and friends to visit the dying person. A survey USA 2001 showed that terminally ill patients actually spent the vast majority of their time on their own, with few visits from medical personnel or family members. Spiritual care Spiritual care may be important even for non-religious people. Spiritual care should be interpreted in a very wide sense, since patients and families facing death often want to search for the meaning of their lives in their own way.

Palliative care and euthanasia Good palliative care is the alternative to euthanasia. If it was available to every patient, it would certainly reduce the desire for death to be brought about sooner.

But providing palliative care can be very hard work, both physically and psychologically. Ending a patient's life by injection is quicker and easier and cheaper.

This may tempt people away from palliative care. Legalising euthanasia may reduce the availability of palliative care Some fear that the introduction of euthanasia will reduce the availability of palliative care in the community, because health systems will want to choose the most cost effective ways of dealing with dying patients.

Medical decision-makers already face difficult moral dilemmas in choosing between competing demands for their limited funds. So making euthanasia easier could exacerbate the slippery slope, pushing people towards euthanasia who may not otherwise choose it.

When palliative care is not enough Palliative care will not always be an adequate solution: Some patients may prefer death to dependency, because they hate relying on other people for all their bodily functions, and the consequent loss of privacy and dignity Lack of home care: Other patients will not wish to have palliative care if that means that they have to die in a hospital and not at home Loss of alertness: Some people would prefer to die while they are fully alert and and able to say goodbye to their family; they fear that palliative care would involve a level of pain-killing drugs that would leave them semi-anaesthetised Not in the final stages: Other people are grateful for palliative care to a certain point in their disease, but after that would prefer to die rather than live in a state of helplessness and distress, regardless of what is available in terms of pain-killing and comfort.

There should be no law or morality that would limit a clinical team or doctor from administering the frequent dosages of pain medication that are necessary to free people's minds from pain that shrivels the spirit and leaves no time for speaking when, at times, there are very few hours or days left for such communication.

  • It will thus be able to deal with this case equally well To dress murder up as euthanasia will involve medical co-operation;
  • Spiritual care Spiritual care may be important even for non-religious people;
  • Since God arguments are of no interest to people without faith, it's presented here with the God bit removed;
  • Ending a patient's life by injection is quicker and easier and cheaper;
  • That is why almost all societies - even non-religious ones - for thousands of years have made euthanasia a crime;
  • The disabled person's perspective Part of the problem is that able-bodied people look at things from their own perspective and see life with a disability as a disaster, filled with suffering and frustration.

David Roy, Director of the Centre for Bioethics, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal Top Fears about regulation Euthanasia opponents don't believe that it is possible to create a regulatory system for euthanasia that will prevent the abuse of euthanasia. Top It gives doctors too much power This argument often appears as 'doctors should not be allowed to play God'.

Since God arguments are of no interest to people without faith, it's presented here with the God bit removed.

Anti-euthanasia arguments

Doctors should not be allowed to decide when people die: Doctors do this all the time Any medical action that extends life changes the time when a person dies and we don't worry about that This is a different sort of decision, because it involves shortening life Doctors take this sort of decision all the time when they make choices about treatment As long as doctors recognise the seriousness of euthanasia and take decisions about it within a properly regulated structure and with proper safeguards, such decisions should be acceptable In most of these cases the decision will not be taken by the doctor, but by the patient.

The doctor will provide information to the patient to help them make their decision Since doctors give patients the information on which they will base their decisions about euthanasia, any legalisation of euthanasia, no matter how strictly regulatedputs doctors in an unacceptable position of power.

An Age Concern dossier in 2000 showed that doctors put Do Not Resuscitate orders in place on elderly patients without consulting them or their families Do Not Resuscitate orders are more commonly used for older people and, in the United States, for black people, alcohol misusers, non-English speakers, and people infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

This suggests that doctors have stereotypes of who is not worth saving Top Pressure on the vulnerable This is another of those arguments that says that euthanasia should not be allowed because it will be abused. The fear is that if euthanasia is allowed, vulnerable people will be put under pressure to end their lives.

  • Some patients may prefer death to dependency, because they hate relying on other people for all their bodily functions, and the consequent loss of privacy and dignity Lack of home care;
  • Euthanasia is a rejection of the importance and value of human life 1;
  • That is why almost all societies - even non-religious ones - for thousands of years have made euthanasia a crime;
  • She and anyone who wants to die knows he will approve any such request;
  • Spiritual care Spiritual care may be important even for non-religious people;
  • The doctor will provide information to the patient to help them make their decision Since doctors give patients the information on which they will base their decisions about euthanasia, any legalisation of euthanasia, no matter how strictly regulated , puts doctors in an unacceptable position of power.

It would be difficult, and possibly impossible, to stop people using persuasion or coercion to get people to request euthanasia when they don't really want it.

AIDS patients who have been totally abandoned by their parents, brothers and sisters and by their lovers. In a state of total isolation, cut off from every source of life and affection, they would see death as the only liberation open to them. In those circumstances, subtle pressure could bring people to request immediate, rapid, painless death, when what they want is close and powerful support and love. They may actually be a burden, but those who love them may be happy to bear that burden.

Nonetheless, if euthanasia is available, the sick person may pressure themselves into asking for euthanasia.

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Pressure from family and others Family or others involved with the sick person may regard them as a burden that they don't wish to carry, and may put pressure which may be very subtle on the sick person to ask for euthanasia. Increasing numbers of examples of the abuse or neglect of elderly people by their families makes this an important issue to consider. Financial pressure The last few months of a patient's life are often the most expensive in terms of medical and other care.

Shortening this period through euthanasia could be seen as a way of relieving pressure on scarce medical resources, or family finances. Some people argue that refusing patients drugs because they are too expensive is a form of euthanasia, and that while this produces public anger at present, legal euthanasia provides a less obvious solution to drug costs.

If there was 'ageism' in health services, and certain types of care were denied to those over a certain age, euthanasia could be seen as a logical extension of this practice.