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Euthanasia Debate

There are strong proponents on both sides of the debate for and against euthanasia. The word euthanasia comes from two Greek words, ôeuö meaning good, and thanatos meaning death. Proponents of euthanasia believe it is everyone's right to die at a time of their own choosing, and in a manner of their own choosing, when faced with terminal illness rather than suffer through to the bitter end. Opponents argue that euthanasia cannot be a ôprivate matter of self-determination and personal beliefs, because it is an act that requires two people to make it possible and a complicit society to make it acceptableö (Somerville 33). They consider euthanasia the equivalent of murder, which is against the law everywhere in civilized society, and maintain that medicine and law are the ôprincipal institutions that maintain respect for human life in a secular pluralistic society.ö Somerville accuses euthanasia proponents of wanting to make death a purely technical issue, of stripping it of all its humanity, and allowing us to control the time, place, and manner of our death to make it as cheap and efficient as possible. It is interesting that she makes a distinction between euthanasia as an active process designed to end life, yet does not consider withdrawing life-saving treatment in the same light. Others do not make this distinction (Last). It is also of interest that she dismisses the notion that physicians are presently carrying out euthanasia in some cases quietly, and in a dignified manner, while most people are well aware of the fact.

There are many reasons people oppose euthanasia, whether for religious reasons, or the worry that those who cannot afford expensive medical treatment may opt for it for financial reasons, or even those who quote the ôslippery slopeö argument that allowing euthanasia would eventually lead to imposed euthanasia on the old, the troublesome, and those who might be pushed into it for the sake of an an...

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Euthanasia Debate. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:38, March 22, 2019, from