The Euthanasia Debate

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Euthanasia is defined as the painless killing of a terminally ill patient by means of lethal injection by a doctor in a controlled medical environment. Similarly, physician assisted suicide (PAS) is when a patient requests a lethal prescription from a doctor or pharmacist to end their life before a fatal disease does. The two are akin to each other and are almost interchangeable in definitions. Being a highly controversial topic, there is a plethora of arguments surrounding PAS, all very emotionally driven and opinionated. There are those who firmly believe that euthanasia should be legal, pointing to morality and ethics to defend their position. On the other side, of course, are those who are inflexibly against the idea of assisted…show more content…
“…a 1990 Dutch report described a terminally ill patient whose death was accelerated by euthanasia in order to create more room for new patients” (Griswold 2). There are also concerns that euthanasia will be taken to extreme limits closely resembling the Nazi practice of eugenics. During the Holocaust, Nazis actually started the practice of euthanasia, killing anyone deemed handicapped or not of the socialist party. This was the plan to create the perfect human race, eugenics. Any child under the age of three with any kind of deformity would be euthanized, along with any adult seen to be “unfit” (Griswold 3-4). What people fear now is that euthanasia will be used once more to “exterminate” children that are not perfectly healthy in every way, or adults with debilitating handicaps; thus repeating the actions of the Nazis. “It would be a shame to actively promote suicide at a time when this choice, which often traumatizes surviving family and friends, appears to be waning in popularity” (Pearson 2). There are many people who find PAS to be completely unnecessary, arguing that enough people commit suicide as it is and that PAS should not be promoted. Lately suicide rates have been declining, but with the legalization of PAS the rates are expected to increase. John Pearson writes: There are some signs of hastening death is losing its appeal as advances in medical science led to improved quality of life for those with depression, severe pain
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