Euthanasia is a social ethical issue in Australia that has been debated for decades. In the majority of countries, euthanasia or assisted suicide is against the law and according to the National Health Service (NHS), it is illegal to help somebody kill themselves, regardless of circumstances. What is Euthanasia and who does it effect? Euthanasia in a general sense is a practice most commonly administered to patients who live with an incurable illness. There are many sub-categories of euthanasia. Voluntary euthanasia takes place in response to a person’s direct wish, as they seek assistance provided by someone else.
In most of the legal systems around the world, that individual is a doctor. Assisted suicide is where the final act is taken by the person themselves in the comfort of their own home. This gives the individual the choice of whether they wish to follow through immediately, or wait until they are ready. There is also a difference between active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is arguably the more humane alternative to passive euthanasia as it is “a quick and painless” lethal injection whereas the latter can result in “a relatively slow and painful death.
What are the positive aspects of euthanasia? Many argue for the rights of human beings; as it is assumed that the decision to end their lives is their own. If/when the time arises, deciding on the method of how you want to die is one of the uttermost personal and important choices an individual could ever have to deal with. Controlling a dignified death would promise that “you don’t have to suffer” in your final hours. This rings true for Australians such as Catherine Ringwood, a terminally ill patient who risks prosecution to get access to the same choices.
The majority of terminally ill patients may refrain from taking use of the choice, but the option of how to control death itself dismisses a great amount of suffering, replacing it with a better peace of mind. In places where euthanasia is legalised, such as Oregon in the United States, approximately 30 per cent of the people who get the prescription do not end up using it. It is used as a precautionary measure, in the event of uncontrollable pain that cannot be aided and their situation has got to the stage they want out. Most would agree that no one wishes to suffer death, no matter the circumstance.
Supporters of euthanasia claim that active euthanasia is not morally worse than passive euthanasia – the withdrawal or withholding of medical treatments that result in a patient’s death. In line with this view, it is argued that active euthanasia should be allowed whilst passive euthanasia is permitted. Adversaries of euthanasia claim that there is a clear moral discrepancy concerning the act of ending a patient’s life and denying treatment which ends a patient’s life. Allowing a patient to pass away from an untreatable disease may be seen as allowing the disease to be the natural cause of death without moral culpability.
Life-support treatment merely postpones death and when interventions are withdrawn, the patient’s death is caused by the underlying disease. What are the negative aspects of euthanasia? From a religious standpoint, the sanctity of life is of the utmost importance. Even though 18 of 20 survey participants are religious, only two disagreed on the legalisation with one remarking “God gave us life, God should be the one to take it away from us” A predominant argument against euthanasia is society’s view on the sanctity of life, and this can have be seen from both a nonspiritual and/or religious viewpoint.
The primary belief is that humankind must be respected and preserved. The Christian view perceives life itself as a gift obtainable only from God, who must abstain from ending that life at any cost. In the same way, the Islamic faith states that “it is the sole prerogative of God to bestow life and to cause death. ” Some who oppose euthanasia believe that the sanctity of life should be of the highest priority and in terms of the extremely ‘ethical legislation, politicians have to undertake the religious minorities, the right to life and other active lobby groups.
The abuse of independence and human rights, namely the rights of vulnerable patients may in-adversely taint the doctorpatient relationship. It has been contended that the patients’ request for euthanasia is seldom in their own hands, since the majority of critically ill patients may not be of a right or logical state of mind. If euthanasia happened to be an accepted practice in Australia, it could possibly increase situations that demoralise the rights of helpless patients.
This takes into account the pressure for patients to undergo expensive treatments conducted to more easily accept euthanasia or assisted suicide. There have been a number of cases of admittances that doctors were undergoing voluntary euthanasia and moreover euthanasia not including the request of the patient. Society views an action which has a primary intention of killing another person as inherently wrong, in spite of the patient’s consent. One survey recipient depicts the practice of active voluntary euthanasia as “accepting adult murder.
Voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide destabilize the doctor-patient relationship; damaging the trust and self assurance, the foundation of such an important bond. Some argue that a doctor’s position is to aid and save lives, not to put an end to them. Throwing doctors into the deep end in by overseeing euthanasia “would undermine and compromise the objectives of the medical profession. ” This role could be given to a separate worker who is trained in euthanasia as a precautionary measure and to ensure doctors are not administering the lethal drug without regulation.
Legalisation would wholly shift the mindset and the philosophy of medicine in Australia. This is due to a doctor’s practice in training, where they view themselves as drivers of remedial comfort and certainly not as agents of death. If the terminally ill lose assurance in preserving their lives and of medical practitioners, then they are likely to be much more reluctant to request medical attention when they are ill; causing a plethora of complications and issues as time passes by.
Conclusion Based on the research and the answers from the survey participants, Australia should legalise euthanasia. Euthanasia can be viewed as an argumentative dispute, with the centre of the debate being active voluntary euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. Its legal standing in Australia likened to a criminal offence, giving murder or manslaughter charges in accordance to the criminal legislation and common law of the specific Australian state in question.
Australia’s embargo outlawing the practice of euthanasia and assisted suicide reflects the existing legal state of affairs that is existent in other countries around the globe. Conversely, there are no more than a small number of countries and states around the world that have given the green flag to legalising the act of euthanasia and assisted suicide. There have also been countless arguments put forward for and against euthanasia, with the handful that have been addressed, only responsible for a glance into the ethical debate and controversy encompassing the matter of euthanasia.