University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Should the UK introduce the right to die
Death, in itself, is a hot topic since the existence of man. In some incidences, people have lost their lives in various ways. These causes of death include accidents, natural causes and sometimes ineptness of doctors and nurses handling patients or victims who could have a high chance of recovery. Most of these people would have loved to live longer, but their lives end in the various circumstances. In some cases, people, especially celebrities die of over dosage of the hard drugs such as cocaine, marijuana among others. Victims of this form of death include the world famous Whitney Houston, who accidentally drowned after over dosage of the drugs she had earlier on confessed to abusing (DOLAK and MURPHY 2012).While the above causes might result out of unexpected effects or maybe overwhelming by disease, some cases could require termination of one’s life consciously. Some people could want to end their lives while others could be suffering from extreme conditions such as comma or severe pain. Arguably with no sign of recuperation, that the doctor or relatives recommend death as the only solution. Euthanasia is the act of assisting or encouraging an individual to kill him or herself, an act, which is also, called ‘Assisted suicide (nhs.uk n.d.). In most cases, this action occurs for the sake of alleviating the person of the pain or suffering they undergo before their deaths. A good example occurs a doctor injects a cancer patient with an overdosing of muscle relaxants in order to end their lives (Maas and Delden 1991) (J, E.r Daniels and Clarridge 1996). The heart is formed by muscles. If these relaxants are an overdose, then the heart would lose control and reduce the heartbeat that leads to lesser blood pumping to the organs. Blood carries within it blood sugar and oxygen, and is responsible for detoxification. Reduced blood flow causes deficiency in these things, and the eventual result is death. If a person supplied sedatives to a patient with chronic illness, understanding that, the person wants to take their life, that person is assisting the other to die. Under the UK law (England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland), assisted deaths and euthanasia are illegal and are punishable by law to being incarcerated up to as long as 14 years or life imprisonment. It is regarded as either murder or manslaughter. Ironically, this law, the Suicide Act of 1961 does not categorize an attempt to kill oneself as being criminal. Therefore, a person wishing to die and does not succeed will go Scott free while the one who participated in the assisted suicide faces imprisonment. Additionally, this is one flaw of the law.
If its intention is to net all the participants, it should then begin with the person who either had the intention or has been influenced by self-life termination. Euthanasia has existed since the pre-Jesus era. It was more rampant at that time than it is as of now, and there was no universal rule, law or notion, except morally that it was wrong to end someone’s life. People were however killed using brutal means such as by slashing off the head or crucifixion. Euthanasia, from its Greek meaning, means “mercy killing”. Epicurean and Stoic philosophers supported euthanasia and suicide in situations that one ceased to find the meaning of life, or when they stopped caring about their lives. In Epictetus is famously quoted by protagonists of assisted deaths saying that if a room he was in was smoky, he would stay only moderately. Although one would go out of the room if the smoke were too much. The early church, based on the foundation of the Christian principles that Jesus taught,, life was sacred and was a gift from God. Therefore, it was ethically wrong to terminate life regardless of the situation in which found oneself. All forms of life termination including abortion were prohibited as every being had an Immortal soul and only the giver, God, had the right to take it away. In the view of natural law, euthanasia seemed prohibited as it went against the self-preservation principle (Cavalier, Mellon and Ess n.d.).The rise of modern secular philosophy, with the advent of atheists and agnostics, came beliefs the one was the ultimate determiner of the kind of life they wanted. Therefore, death ought to be an option for one. The new philosophy moved away from the thought that moral principles required religious foundations As much as most were theists; they were of the opinion that ethical values had root in one’s conscience. However, in their liberty of thought, Kant and Hegel, German philosophers of the 18th century held the opinion that in all matters regarding life the church was right through the many centuries. David Hume, regarded as the greatest philosopher from Britain, was of the contrary opinion (Shaw 2009). This skeptic philosopher thought the power to end one’s life rested with an individual and therefore they should take it without interruption at their pleasure, whenever they please. However, As Jeremy Bentham set everyone’s thoughts later, ethics was neither a matter of whether one believed in God nor was it a service to God or obedience and uphold of abstract moral values (Cavalier, Mellon and Ess n.d.). However, it was to promote happiness to the greatest heights across the globe. Therefore, Bentham advised that in structuring social policies, actions, and laws, human beings try to deliberate how these legislation and policies will affect individuals and animals while keeping everyone happy. In this light, we ask again, does euthanasia promote happiness and comfort for everyone? Logically, a quick, painless death would reduce misery on earth. Therefore, euthanasia was morally right. John Stuart Mill, Bentham’s follower, states that whether or not one finds meaning in life or wants to end their misery is a personal decision. The government and other people have no authority to intervene (SAFRANEK 1998). Bentham’s opinion is that an individual understands their case, and therefore they should decide when or not to take their lives. Euthanasia is classified into five categories: active, passive, voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia (Brigham and Pfeifer 1996).
Active euthanasia occurs when a person deliberately takes part in killing someone in whatever ways. Passive euthanasia results when a person withdraws or withholds treatment that aids in maintaining a life. For example, a doctor removing the life support machine for an individual in a coma or antibiotics from an individual with pneumonia. Voluntary euthanasia occurs when a person voluntarily makes a conscious decision to end their life and asks for help. Non-voluntary euthanasia results when a person does not have the will to give consent, maybe in cases of coma or brain damage. Akin could give permission for such a person’s life to be terminated if the individual in the situation expressed such desires were he incapacitated or befallen with such a situation. Involuntary euthanasia occurs when an individual is killed against their will. In most cases, such a form of euthanasia has been performed by the government agencies such as verdicts of court sentence where someone is condemned to death.
Whether it is right or not is a subject of discussion that needs careful consideration. Many countries have had such contentions before. Derek Humphrey, in his article “Tread carefully when you help to die”, admits that laws around the world are clear in some nations (Humphrey 2005) but are a bit gray in others. In countries where this topic is not well defined or defined at all, it does not always mean that no action can be taken against those who assist others in their pursuit to die. Life is sovereign and is respected in all nations across all the cultures in the world. Globally, the assumption by many people is that the freedom over personal choice extends to suicide and assisted deaths. While suicide is no longer regarded as a criminal offense, assisted death is. Even in the nations that are yet to revise the law, which recognizes the death as prohibited, it is not enforced, and in most cases, the victims will be treated as patients needing psychiatric help. The freedom fallacy has put many around the world at a clash with the laws. In the UK especially, where one can serve a lifetime in jail. Issues such as these need a sensible argument and rather than taking someone to prison for assisting death, they would rather subject them to psychiatric treatments. The reason suicide may be exempted from the list of crimes is because of the psychological vulnerability that pushes the victims to think that death is a solution.
While it is logically viable to think that they will better appreciate psychological help, those who assist in committing these suicides ought to be given more thoughts too (Lee R. Slome, et al. 1997). For example, I would consider someone to have a very strong reason to want to assist another in dying. It may be empathetic action out of psychological vulnerability too, in case of extreme pain and suffering of the victim that they decide to act in order for their loved one to depart in peace. This psychological vulnerability ought to be investigated before legal action is taken. In the case of ulterior motives where the assister is to benefit directly from the death of the victim, legal action will be right against the person. Countries such as Sweden have no law regarding assisted suicide. In the place of this law, the person who is found guilty of assisted deaths faces manslaughter. For instance, Berit Hedeby, the Swedish campaigner for the rights to die was in 1979 sentenced to a year of imprisonment for assisting someone to die. Norway’s way to limit this occurrence is by charging assisters of death with accessory to murder. The weight of the sentence is dependent upon the reasons that are given; including cases of voluntary euthanasia.
There is the case of Dr. Christian Sandsdalen, the Norwegian doctor who administered morphine over dosage to a woman who had been ill chronically for 20 years. For one, this woman was in pain. Two, the woman requested that she be assisted to die. The woman with multiple sclerosis, a condition in which a person loses control of the central nervous system coordination, begged Dr. Sandsdalen to help her die. Multiple sclerosis is a painful chronic illness, which makes someone almost helpless, as the victims have to receive attention consistently. The pain and stigma requires a lot of strong will otherwise a person will tend to give up on life, which happens with most other patients with chronic illnesses. Christian found himself on the wrong side of the law and was stripped of his practice license.
In such a case, death is inevitable because the person will die either way. If left to live for longer, their pain is just extended as long as they live. Therefore, it would be noble to let them rest in peace. In my opinion, the doctor had no fault in executing the assistance. In fact, he was more of help to the woman. The topic of abortion was as contentious as this issue of assisted death is. Well, out of the many debates conducted globally, a voice of reason was consistent and loud about the circumstances when abortion is inevitable. Abortion is legal for particular circumstances in many countries now. In the UK, abortion is allowed if it risks the health of the mother, or cases where the fetus risks severe malformation or mental damage (choike.org n.d.). Other countries that followed suit include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, and the United States among other countries. These countries have registered progressive health records and lower maternal deaths. Most countries in the Latin America have illegalized the abortion. In all these countries, including Brazil, which is an emerging market nation, unsafe abortion is among the leading causes of maternal deaths (choike.org n.d.). If abortion were legalized in cases where the doctor recommends and provides services that guarantee survival of the mother, then it would prevent so many deaths (K Singh and Ratnam 1998).
The same analogy should apply to the case of euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia should be legalized so that mechanisms are designed and taught to doctors so that it is done in a safe, standardized manner that guarantees a painless process to the patient. In Oregon State of the USA, rights to assisted dying are legal. Brittany Maynard, a brain cancer patient, sparked a revolution for assisted deaths when she boldly took her life at the age of 29. In 2012, Brittany became a face of the campaign for the right to die. Explaining her limited choices in a video that got more than 50 million views in 2012, 2013 and 2014 alone (Parry 2014). She explained that her illness, the stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, a form of terminal brain cancer that aggressively grows and tortures a person. Brittany deliberated upon this choice for months, having access to the medicine, but only choosing to take it when the brain cancer took toll on her. She preferred a quick peaceful death that was more self-predetermined over the inevitable death from the pain she would have had to go through when the cruel cancer would swell her brain against the skull; imaginably unbearable. In her last Facebook post, Brittany consciously thanks her friends, family, and the world that made her bucket wish list possible before taking the medicine that killed her on her bed. It was sad to leave this beautiful world of family and friends among the beautiful places to visit. Alternatively, a reprieve is that she got to choose how, where and when she died and was laid to rest, in a peaceful way.
For the antagonists of this proposition, what alternative would they have given to Brittany before she dies? I guess there was not a single list containing a variety of options from which to pick. Her death was inevitable, and in a very torturous way, an experience that no one would love to go through. This choice is a crucial one and should be provided not only under the United Kingdom law, but the same logic should apply to other countries the world over. In June 2014, a bill was introduced into the United Kingdom Parliament concerning the bill to ratify the assisted death act. The Former cabinet minister for labor Lord Falconer got this debate moving in the chambers.
As usual, there are usually protagonists and antagonists to any issue of moot. Both sides got to give high points for and against the bill. For example, Lord Gold, a Conservative life peer and lawyer by profession states that the bill is a symbol of creeping euthanasia. He describes a gloomy UK in the light of this law where mobile euthanasia units will trot the country with an increasing number of people taking their lives for petty reasons that could be solved quickly. Gold also questioned the validity of the criteria to be used by doctors to determine the willingness of an individual to die, or the extent of chronic illness that would prompt euthanasia. In this point of view, this would cease to be voluntary but will be involuntary euthanasia, which would totally miss the point. In a way, it is a silent encouragement of people by the law to die (McConnell and Walker 2014). Lord Judd shared the story of the letter he received from a member of the public. He read the letter in which a person died in excruciating pain.
His relatives begged their general family health care practitioner to help the man die, but the GP cited the anti-euthanasia laws of the UK. He still ended up dying and in much greater pain. Proponents of the bill compared the law to the effects it has had on the state of Oregon in the USA. Since it was introduced over 20 years ago, few people have used it. The number according to the state statistics is 752: 396 men and 356 women, including those who went to Oregon with the purpose of dying there through euthanasia. This number, compared to the Oregon population of 3.93 million is a drop in the ocean.
While this comparison is not convincing enough because it is the human life in question, it still serves right. Because it is a number that represents people who choose to end their suffering through a conscious decision to die (Melinda A. Lee, et al. 1996).According to Polly Toynbee’s article in the Guardian online, assisted death is essentially an act of compassion and kindness towards a suffering individual. It is something that most would want when on the brink of immense pain from a chronic illness. Lord falconer’s bill received opposition especial from the clergy and other religions.
Human beings have fought for the various rights. The struggle has been a long one due to significant and slight misunderstanding of issues through time. Most of these rights are entrenched in the constitution of most, if not all, countries around the world. The right to die is the last of all that a person will get to enjoy (Conwell Y 1991). The issue at hand majorly concerns playing the “God factor”, so that people get to decide when to die. These other rights accentuate the situation so that there is absolute personal control over one’s body and general life. These include the right to fertility, expression, and productivity among other rights. However, this opposition comes in the wake of a poll result in which 70% of the participants agree with the fact that people should have the right to a graceful exit without being forced by law or clerics to endure weeks or months of pain-in the wait for a natural death (Toynbee 2014). The debate that is picking pace in Europe is likely to spread further.
France caught the wind and around the same time with Lord Falconer, introduced the same bill. It only makes sense if euthanasia is legalized under certain conditions. It is the prerogative of the government to provide treatment and better life. If the government and other human agencies cannot alleviate suffering or pain from an individual, then it is only honorable to let them rest in peace rather than endurance of pain during the last days on earth. Anything that touches on subjects of human life has always brought up debates about ethical issues. Well, this is a very contentious issue on both sides.
As it has always been said for dual way situations, you are damned if you support and you damned if you do not help it. Sadly, euthanasia raises very agonizing debates. A major question regularly asked is whether it is right to end the life of a chronically ill patient who suffers from severe pain from the illness, like in the case of Brittany. Another question is if it is right, under what circumstances is euthanasia justifiable? In some instances of extreme illness, and death is imminent, I would support euthanasia. In the UK, there are many cases where terminally ill people are denied the right to quick an exit simply because the law incriminates the individual who dare to assist in ending one’s life. Chronic illness could alter the quality of life of a patient. Symptoms of certain diseases such as terminal cancer include breathlessness, frequent nausea and vomiting, paralysis, incontinence and difficulty in swallowing. Some starve to death because of these feelings. At times, a lack of appetite will often cause one to stop eating and, therefore, die in pain because of the symptoms of these diseases and side effects of their life-supporting therapies. In some cases where a patient is mostly restless and suffers brain damage or organ failure, the pain is imaginably very excruciating. An example as such deserve a much better ending than a life of misery and whining, dreading to wake up to another day. Psychological factors significantly contribute to a thought and call for euthanasia.
Patients with depression always feel as if they are a burden to the society and in fear of losing control of their dignity and life, will contemplate suicide. Many people dislike the feeling of being dependent on other persons, and, therefore, that makes the situation harder to endure being taken care of, and essential things being done foe one. There are many types of depression. The three major types are major, manic and persistent depressive disorder. All these could be very disturbing and could cause one to commit certain actions that could either lower their dignity or self-esteem. If they find that the smoky room is unbearable, they will most often think of killing themselves (Hein online 1993-1994). Some of these cases could be controllable, but some are hardly manageable. In cases where they become a danger to other people and medical advancements do not offer any form of help, voluntary euthanasia is in order.
As long as it is a decision that is well contemplated and counseling sessions have been conducted. If after counseling, the patient still feels that they should be assisted to die, no law should stop them because preventing their death is equal to prolonging their suffering. There have been publicized cases of euthanasia victims. To prove that the call for the right to euthanasia is valid, examples are given from around the globe, which involve most people staying in the vegetative state for a long period. This rule of living is a state where one is technically alive but logically dead. Just like a dead person’s heart could be restarted moments after death and keep circulating with nutrient fed and all respiratory, metabolic and excretory processes being conducted by machines.
The heart would continue to beat, but as long as the brain cells are dead, they will not resurrect. Therefore, it is better to save their dignity and let them rest in peace. Terri Schiavano is a well-known case of euthanasia among the euthanasia crusaders. Having suffered heart attack, which severely damaged her brain cells, she was left in a vegetative state persistently, surviving on a feeding tube for over ten years. Her husband advocated for her death as a right. This case elicited so much reaction in the public domain, in that it attracted large masses of both supporters and antagonists. Protagonists logically felt that keeping her alive was only prolonging her suffering especially with minimal chances of waking up. Biologically, this feeling is valid as most cells have an opportunity to heal right after damage. But after years, there is minimal chance of recovery, except by a miracle. Even then, the person will wake up with so much deformation or damage that they will still suffer the effects of malformation. Antagonists had only moral thought to themselves, thinking that it would be immoral to kill Schiavo. After 15 years of suffering, the doctors legally disconnected Schiavo from her life supporting mechanism on 18th March, 2005, leading to her death on the 31st of the same month.
King George V, the United Kingdom King between 1910 and 1936, also benefitted the preservation of dignity by euthanasia. The king was severely injured after being thrown from the horseback, resulting in injuries that exacerbated his breathing difficulties caused by excessive smoking. In extreme pain and suffering, the king’s vacation got an extension, which continued, to his death. His health was in such a deplorable state that the doctors-due to his stature and position in the UK-recommended euthanasia in order to save face and preserve his dignity. His Doctors administered an injection of morphine and cocaine, which lead to his death. In Belgium, where death by euthanasia is legal, the death of Hugo Claus elicited a lot of debate. The poet, playwright, author and director’s life was ended in 2008 after his decision to die and to ask for the procedure to be conducted by him. In the twilight years of this prolific mind, Alzheimer’s disease attacked Hugo, which was extremely troublesome for him. He finally was laid to rest quickly and peacefully at a time of his choosing.
Karen Ann Quinlan-after a binge of drinking alcohol and intake of cocktail drugs-stopped breathing long enough for her brain to incur massive damage. This state brought her into a persistent vegetative state in which she relied on life support. This sad occurrence happened when she was at the age of 22. Her parents asked that she be removed from life support later, clamoring for the right to die. She was withdrawn from the respirator, under the court instructions. She survived for the next decade when she died of pneumonia and result of euthanasia. Pier Giorgio Welby’s death by euthanasia also elicited a lot of national controversy in Italy. The Italian painter, poet and activist was diagnosed at the age of 17 with muscular dystrophy. This disease had a very fast progression, which rendered him helpless even with breathing. He relied on machine support for breathing. Even under this pain, the church refused that he could not take his life. He clamored for the right to die out of the pain and burden he experienced. After his plea being granted legally, he was euthanized in December 2006. The Church denied him a church burial because of the position the church had taken in the standoff. The late Welby underwent a lot of sufferings, and denial of such rights was equal to shouting the fact that all you cared about was your moral guard rather than the suffering that others endure.
In Australia, the Death of Nancy Crick quickly became a controversial subject, dividing the Australian nation over the rights to die and the ethical issues surrounding the matter. Ms. Crick killed herself, out of a painful wound that had resulted from a cancer surgery on her bowels. Her pain was too severe, even though she had been healed of cancer. She underwent euthanasia in the presence of twenty-one supporters of euthanasia, in 2002.A compelling case is seen from the event of a French schoolteacher, who contracted a rare form of cancer that disfigured her face, and damaged her eyesight, sense of taste, and smell. After her plea with the French government for a right to euthanasia, Chantal Sebire was denied this right.
Although later on, she was found in her house, dead from an overdose of drugs that were not available in France (Ranker.com n.d.). This grisly torture from diseases alongside the denial of the right to die was logically against her sense or regard for a better life. Had she been granted her right to die peacefully, she would have died with dignity rather than from an overdose that probably tortured her to her death. Nevertheless, her early exit prevented further suffering and pain for her. In 2009, A UK citizen, Debby Purdy, was granted a right to die by the House of Lords (The pain she endured was unbearable). In her words, Purdy says that her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1995 sounded like a life sentence (Purdy 2015). The 2009 grant of freedom to die was a reprieve for her as she felt that she had once again acquired the right to live and enjoy the life with her friends and family while she could. She lived five more years, up to 2014, when she took her life, late in the same year.
Ironical as the right to die could sound in giving one the lease of new life. Purdy enjoyed her life and got to appreciate her family, friends and her world more than she would have had she been denied the right to die. The above show some of the dire situations in which people required to be assisted to die. These are people who would have preferred to live, they were given better conditions of living, not materially, but health wise. Situations such as those in which one feels as though they are undergoing constant torture by the virtue of them sitting, standing or lying down ought to be allowed to exit gracefully and with dignity. In order to save them from this immense pain and suffering, we might talk all though about stories of people who have done it before. Analysis of whether this thought of making Euthanasia a possible legal right that the UK citizens involve more stats. Apart from appealing to our emotional selves, euthanasia is a discourse that needs to bring more sense as to whether there is looming danger that we might plunge the public in.
Maybe an individual catastrophe occurs now or sometimes into the future. What is the index or possibility of people enduring to see a greater benefit than backing out of life merely because they can?
Analyzing the freedom of speech, we look on both sides of the coin. Before it was introduced, people behaved in certain ways that are entirely different from what people do in this age. Some countries have stricter rules about to freedom of speech than others do. What is the impact of this freedom of expression? We have to look at the situation exclusively before we can deduce the outcomes of legalizing euthanasia. The freedom of speech has been able to bring forth many benefits to citizens of the nations, which uphold it, for example, the United States and the United Kingdom.
There have been more cases in the recent past about advocating for constitutional rights about individual freedoms. What people think should be amended, and even the fact that we can speak about the possibility of a law that allows assistance to death is a mere outcome of the freedom of speech and expression. Than ever before, we have had people taken to court on counts of breaching someone else’s freedoms. This fact only means that once people have access to certain facilities, they either use it out of high reason, curiosity or even at times, for no reason at all. This may however be just for the sheer fact of dreaming. There have been cases where certain clergymen who brainwash their congregants about the end of the world and such a sort of stories. Many people have predicted that the world was about to end.
However, this is not a new phenomenon but began right in the year 999 when people were made to believe that the world was to end in 1033. Many people left their regular activities, and some even sold everything that they would not need. His topic has not shied away from public unofficial debates and church conversations. Famous preachers predicted the end of the world, which at times resulted in tragic mass killing and irrational behavior. For example, the followers of Nostradamus, Pat Robertson, and Harold Camping among others suffered from the panic attacks. If some did not take their lives (Thompson 2014), it could be because there was no such a hint or possibility to do so. A story is told about people digging a tunnel and burying themselves without food because they would like to be taken by the rapture from beneath the ground.
While such stories are ridiculous, they happened. The fact that people can be brainwashed by charismatic and convincing people, especially on matters of the faith, makes it dangerous to place the option of whether to live or die in their individual hands. In the event that such matters happen in the United Kingdom as of now, where people are hoodwinked to believe that they could benefit in spirit if they either killed one another or themselves, currently there are ways in which it can be followed up legally.
In the event that euthanasia has been legalized, it becomes a tricky affair. Therefore, putting life in the very hands of people is quite dangerous. However, on the contrary, we look at the scenario where individual states and countries have legalized euthanasia. The Oregon state as seen before is the only place that has sanctioned the thought of assisted death. Other states have legalized it in only certain particular circumstances.
However, how many Oregon citizens have taken their lives out of this freedom to do so? The numbers of people who have done so, who are native residents are very few compared to those who visit that part of the United States in order to die. Basically, this means that having death as freedom does not really mean that it is a guarantee for usability. One could argue that people love life and fear to die, hoping for a better life. Human beings are built on hope as one could say. They could argue that it is only in particular circumstances in which people could feel like taking their lives.
Hard work of the citizens of a particular country’ ensures its development. The government sees people as both human beings and human resource. In essence, the government cannot make much progress if professionals are going to be brainwashed for whatever reason to take their lives. If it becomes a trend in a particular part of the country, then it becomes a problem. For example, a particular part of the United Kingdom has doctors who are ascribed to a certain set of doctrines that make them believe that they will be helping their patients if they kill the quick. This is if they think that there is no chance of healing. Beliefs are very powerful and are capable of making people do regrettable things. These doctors could end up killing many people, even based on wrong diagnosis of chronic illnesses, with the thought that they will be assisting them. If backed by law, there will be no reason to declare these doctors unfit for public service and taking due action against them. Determining this argument of that to kill is oblique and whether it is the brainwash or diagnosis that causes them to kill patients.
If this law is introduced, people could use death as a means of settling out vendetta and grudges with people around them. Knowing that it is legal to assist someone to die, the people find ways to convince unsuspecting victims into taking some life-threatening decisions regarding their lives. If they end up dead, they cannot be questioned if they state that the victim wanted to die, and they just came in to assist. One can never establish the root of the problem that led to such kinds of death.
On that strong note, a law to legalize euthanasia or any form of suicide is a dangerous piece of legislation. However, the cases discussed within the scope of this paper dictate the urgency of such a law. Most real life cases that have been backed by evidence show desperate situations where such a law will become ultimately useful in ending some people’s suffering. For instance, those people in constant excruciating pain. Such people may feel that they are tired of living because of this incessant pain that they feel. It is only fair enough that such people’s pain be alleviated by providing whatever it is they wish for. They may be taken for counseling where a doctor or psychologist will explain consequences of such a decision. If they choose to continue with their desire of exiting the earth, they should be allowed to exit, without much regard to personal conscience and disregard for their opinions and thoughts.
If victims of embarrassment, pain, and incurable low self-esteem due to diseases are allowed to die with assistance, they are more likely to exit with peace and dignity. As compared to those that exist using dubious means such as hanging themselves, overdosing with inappropriate pills that cause pain for a long time or in some cases, forced drowning. If assisted to die, they will have the ease to say proper goodbyes, and select places in which they want to die. Giving them a choice to a feeling of freedom-they wanted from life but were denied by disease. If they die in this manner, there will be no controversy as to how they died. The family will have lesser emotions about the loss since they will have had time to internalize the facts that the deceased will no longer be with them. As they have gone to a better place in which they will no longer pain. In this case, moving on after death will become easier and less drama will be involved.
On a legal basis, if such people have a will to write, they will have the chance to write it peacefully knowing how useful it will be when they are no longer around. This situation encourages planning for those who are terminally ill. Wills help to eliminate the drama that goes on after the death of a kin as whichever property is usually allocated as per the reasoning of the original owner of the property. So in other words, euthanasia is not only helpful to the victims who die, but also to the victims who are affected by virtue of association; through family or friendship ties. Matters of property allocation are a hot and divisive issue that can cause more deaths, in case of sudden death of a person who had never written a will. If, in the event of euthanasia, a person writes the will or speaks about the wealth allocation at their deathbeds, they will have helped to keep the peace among siblings.
While the call for euthanasia could be validly out of genuine pain, not all calls result from pain, rather from a willful choice to die. There have been many cases such as this. A survey conducted in Netherlands and the USA brought to the conclusion that the majority of the calls for euthanasia were not out of acute pain, rather from choice. From the results of this survey, more than two-thirds of requests for euthanasia were because of pain. For whichever case, doctors are supposed to offer assistance in the best way possible through quick, painless injections that will ensure a person’s pains are alleviated for good. In this kind of practice, the doctor’s intention will not be counted as that meant to kill the patient, but rather to save them from the pain by alleviating it. This kind of practice is referred to as the “Doctrine of Double Effect (www.bbc.co.uk.nd.).
Examples of people who have died out of wiliness rather than from the purge of pain are quite a number. They include Friedhelm Konieczka, a German ex-footballer, who in his 70s chose to end his life, with the assistance of Exit International, an assisted suicide organization. Herbert Fux, an Austrian Actor with more than 130 film appearances also took his life voluntarily. While these people had their various reasons why they took their lives, we treat it as a person’s last wish. Death is inevitable, but in the quest to control one’s life, one may feel a need to take their life. Whatever the case, last wished are to be honored. In such instances, where a will is written, issues of ethics follow that a person be granted his wish concerning his property distribution, place of burial or mode of getting rid of the body. This is through either cremation or donation for research. If all these can be honored, why not a plea to exit the earth when life seems unbearable?
Considering all the facts and examples laid down in this article, I find a compelling need for the United Kingdom Parliament to prepare and ratify a bill to allow for assisted deaths. This statement should contain all modalities that will put stringent measures to enforce only essential euthanasia, for the sake of preservation of life. I beg to support that yes, the UK citizens should be entitled the right to die just as they are entitled to other human right’s needs.
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