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Euthanasia 2_1

Euthanasia is defined as "a painless

killing,espacially to end a painful and

incurable disease;mercy killing". The

righteousness of this act is being debated

in several countries throughout the

world,and Canada is no exception.Euthanasisa

must not be accepted for religious,legal and

medical reasons,as alternatives to such a

dramatic end.

To begin,the law,both civil and

religious,forbid killing. Individuals are

prosecuted in courts of law for committing

murder. An example of this is the case of

Robert Latimer. Although he claimed to have

mercifully ended the life of his daughter

who suffered from an extreme case of

cerebral palsy,he was convicted of murder in

the second digree. The courts were obliged

to find him guilty as he broke the law by

taking the life of another human being.

Robert Latimer took it upon himself to

decide that his daughter would never lead a

full life. Tracy Latimer was never given an

opportunity for success, as her life was

taken. A not guilty verdict would have told

people that parents of disabled children

can perform both voluntary euthanasia on

their children. In the

UnitedStates,euthanasia was voted on for the

first time in the state of Washington.

Although polls before the vote revealed

strong support for it,the ballot was

defeated by fifty-four to forty-six

percent,and euthanasia remains

illegal in Noth America. In addition to

violating civil law,euthanasia also

contradicts the laws of many religions of

the world. It is God who controlls life and

death. Man will take this responsibility

if euthanasia is permitted. It is stated

in the ten commandments,"Do not commit

murder". Murder can take many forms,one of

which is suicide,the taking of one's own

life. This is forbidden by the Christian

religion. There is a picture on my grand-

mothers wall which stated that"human life is

not merely the possession of the one who

bears it. It is an inherited gift,as

such,has meaning not only for oneself but

for those who bestowed it,those who have

shared it and those who will follow". This

is an unselfish Christian attitude which

states that life not only belong to the one

who leads it,but also to the friends and

family of the person,

both past,present and future. Therefor,

euthanasia does not serve a purpose within a

society where murder is wrong ,both

legally and religiously.

In addition,active euthanasia,if

legalized will say OK to practicing

involuntary euthanasia. Presently,there is

much research being done concerning the need

for euthanasia and its effects. Over time,

the care and caution exercised in making

dicisions exercised in making decisions as

to who should receive euthanasia may

become sloppy. According to Daniel Callaham,

director of Hastings House,a medicial ethics

center in New York:"The slippery alope

argument against euthanasia has always been

that once you start voluntary euthanasia,

you are likely to gravitate towards

involuntary euthanasia. starts in the hands

of a few very cautious,responsible people,

but when it becomes a mass phenomenon,don't

count on the same high standards". In the

Nethalands,where active euthanasia is

allowed,this situation is beginning to

arise. One third of the five thousand

patients who receive lethal amounts of drugs

from their doctors do not give their

concent,five percent only do so out of

unbearable pain and one third because of a

fear of because dependant on others. Patient

will begins to look at thier illness and its

effects on their families in assited

dying,with it being offered most readily to

those least able to pay for medical care".

This must not take place as it will reduce

the lifespans of an increasingly large group

of people in society:the elderly. It will

also fill thier remaining days with worry

over the termination of thier own lives,for

reasons other than lost hope and

unbeleivable pain. Therefor,euthanasia will

lead to the unnecessary termination of many


Also,euthanasia cotradicts the

point of medicine. Doctors cannot be

expected to heal as well as kill. The

purpose of medicine is to get rid of

suffering and death. Euthanasia is in

contrast to this purpose. Over

time,euthanasia would eventally corrupt the

medical system. It could be used as a

excuse for malpractice. A false diagnosis or

surgical procedure on a patient who had been

suffering or near death for quite some

time,could be covered up by claims that the

patient wished to die in thefirst place.

This would avoid an investigation or a rise

in malpractice insurance for the doctor.

Also,the field of disease cure research

would suffer. In some cases,the finding

cures and new treatments because its victims

will be killed through euthanasia. Cures are

costly and extremelydifficult to find. If

euthanasia is allowed,this inexpensive

method may be chosen by doctors who feel

that all hope is lost. There are many

documents cases of people who

have regained conciousness after comas

lasting months or even years. It is also

always possible that new drugs will be found

to combat diseases which are presently

regarded as fatal. In addition,euthanasia

would wreck the image society has of

doctors. Asks Stephen Connor,a Toronto

writer and lecturer in medical ethics:"In a

word that swirls with death-starvation,war,

revolation-society depends on doctors as the

steady symbols of life and its power. Are we

prepared to forfit that hard-won trust and

turn them in to non-committal agents of

death as well as life?". Society would

slowly lose faith in doctors. Groups such as

the elderly and the disable would eventually

stop visiting thier doctors out of fear that

euthanasia would be a suggested treatment,

denying them the health care they deserve.

Therefor,because euthanasia would corupt

medical practices and demenish society's

belief in medicine,it cannot be allowed.

Finally,there are many available

alternatives to euthanasia. Aside from drug

therapy and hospitalization,psychological

treatment and palliative care are

replacements for euthanasia. To begin,many

disabled members of society lead fulfilling

lives,except for the fact their degrees of

success are looked down upon by the rest of

society,which feels that they do not live up

to normal. Says one woman who suffers from

moderate cerebral palsy:"What I have not

been able to accept is the way people treat

me and the feeling that I'm a burden to my

family and myself". Treatment is needed for

the members of society suffering from an

illness,to assist them in finding a meaning

or purpose in their lives. In addition to

emotional strengthening,the availability of

care must be increased. This type of

care,or hospice movement provides an

alternative to hospital care for the

terminally ill,who have less than six months

to live. The patient is cared for,counseled,

and visited by others.

children who will often bring flowers,

drawings and games. The purpose of Hospices

is to give the patient a sense of control

over their death,while filling their last

days with a sense of peace. After the death

of the patient their family is counseled.

This is a more unselfish way to die,as

many family members who take their own lives

blame themselves in some way.

In conclusion,euthanasia is religiously,

legally and medically wrong. There are many

alternatives to this act of murder. It is

not man's decision to judge whether or not a

person should be put to death,even if it is

their wish. According to Leon Kass of the

new England Journal of Medicine:"Verbal

request made under duress rarely revealed

the whole story. Often a demand for

euthanasia is,in fact an angry or anxious

plea for help,born of fear of rejection or

abandonment,or made in ignorance of

available alternatives that could alleviate

pain and suffering". Euthanasia has no place

in a world which is already suffering from

numerous accounts of too early death.

Euthanasia will only result in death coming

too early in life. The effects it will be

huge,if allowed. There is only one person

with the right to kill; GOD.

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