Should euthanasia be decriminalised?

Essay by chermadUniversity, Bachelor's March 2004

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Euthanasia comes from the Greek Eu - Thanatos. Literally means 'well-death' or 'easy-death'. In modern day, euthanasia means to assist terminally ill people to die, at that person's request or by making the decision to stop life support. Most people that request euthanasia is in unbearable pain or suffer physical conditions, which make their quality of life very poor. This decision is not the easy option; it is a very complex and emotional decision for a person to make. In the United Kingdom it is against the law to intentionally take the life of a person, even with their consent. The law does acknowledge that people have the right to die because the Suicide Act (1961) made it legal for people to take their own lives. However, there has been many cases that have challenged the law to be upgraded and has opened the legal, medical and ethical debate on decriminalising euthanasia.

This essay will account for the arguments concerning whether to decriminalise euthanasia.

Religious opponents oppose euthanasia because they believe that the right to decide when a person dies belongs to God. The basis of the Christian standpoint against euthanasia is that of the sixth commandment "Thou shalt not kill". Christianity teaches that suffering can have a place in God's plan, in that it allows the sufferer to share in Christ's agony and his redeeming sacrifice. They believe that Christ will be present to share in the suffering of the believer. Pope John Paul II has written, "It is suffering, more than anything else, which clears the way for the grace which transforms human souls." ( Religious people don't argue that we can't kill ourselves, or get others to do it. They know that we can do it because God has given us free will. Their argument is that...