EUTHANASIA: ARGUMENTS v. REASONS
Author: Waniya Javed
Designation: B.A. LL.B. Student, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh U.P.
Everyone living on this planet earth has been given the Right to Life since his birth to his death. It is an indispensable right over others. However, the constant debate over the Right to Life has raised the question, whether Right to Life gives rise to Right to Death or not. The world is divided into two poles regarding the same, some say Right to Life comes with the Right to Death others disqualify it completely.
In the contemporary world, Euthanasia or the modern term for 'Mercy Killing' has emerged as one of the hotly debated topic due to its coverage of Right to Death. The term Euthanasia refers to deliberately ceasing someone's life in order to escape him from wrathful pain and exhaustion. Nowadays, it takes the shape of Panacea which cures ailing people and helps them to escape from unbearable pain and misery by ending their life either voluntarily or involuntarily.
On the account of consent of people, euthanasia can be classified into;
Voluntary euthanasia: Voluntary euthanasia is one in which the person who is being killed, himself made the wish.
Non-voluntary euthanasia: The so happens in those cases where the person being killed made no request and gave no consent.
Involuntary euthanasia: When the person expressed the wish to live but in contrary being killed, the said is called involuntary euthanasia.
However, there is a vehement debate among medical and legal ethics on the instance of non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia. Whether they should be considered as euthanasia or murder, on the basis of consent. Most of the debaters cite with the point that non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia are a hindering force in the society, hence should be condemned and treated as murder.
To the farther extent, euthanasia can also be divided into two types based on the means through which death is caused, namely;
Active euthanasia: Here, a person has been killed by giving high dose of painkillers or injecting lethal liquids.
Passive euthanasia: Basically refers when a person has been left to die by withdrawing or withholding life-supporting equipments, like not giving the prescriptive medicines.
The concept that euthanasia is morally permissible is way back to Plato, Socrates and Stoic. In 1935, C. Killick Millard had founded the Voluntary Euthanasia Legalisation Society, it is when an organized movement for the legalisation of Euthanasia began in England. It fuelled the long lasting opposition of the phenomenon and appealed to many, either positively or negatively.
The debate of euthanasia is a life-long one, some are highly appreciative of the phenomenon while others highly condemn it. Euthanasia is not only a debated topic among medical and legal pioneers, but it also initiated a row of questions on the duties of a doctor. Those who highly condemn the prevalence of euthanasia, usually take the instance that, a doctor's sole duty is to save the life of the patient by all rightful means and take good care of his health, while euthanasia is totally at the opposite end with this. Apart from this, condemners often shape the debate of euthanasia by persuading people through religious folds.
"The life we live, is the most special blessing of God and Heaven to us, the breath we take is the most appreciative thing of the whole universe, yet we want to cease it."
A highly persuading line, isn't it? Being one of the major reasons that held back the position of many in the favour of the panacea of euthanasia. Apart from these, some rational debates have also been conducted in the use of euthanasia which raised insightful fears that cannot be neglected. Other than religious commandments and medical ethics, the legalization of euthanasia may also prove detrimental to vulnerable groups who use this as a chance to escape their infortunes. Not only this, the social attitude of the society as well as its perception would also change vehemently. These are some of the appreciable points which cause scepticism among the masses on the issue.
Such kind of points and formulations are high obstacles in the legalization of euthanasia in many nations, especially those of the Middle East, that gave a high reverence to their religions.
However, there are many countries that have legalized euthanasia on the fact of 'death with dignity' to every citizen. These countries include Belgium, Netherlands, Albania, Canada, England, USA, UK, Switzerland and Australia. The believance on the Right to Death which arises from the universal Right to Life convinced the said nations to adopt the right approach towards Right to Pursuit of Happiness of their citizens.
After going through the arguments, we should also closely analyse the reasons to legalize euthanasia. The main being that it is an altruistic and benevolent force to those who are suffering from unbearable pain and misery which is the infringement of their Right to Pursuit of happiness. Other being that, the right to live with dignity has given the person a right to death if he seems that his life is undignified with the prevailing conditions where euthanasia can prove a powerful force. A physical curse often paves the ways for mental agony and anguish to patients, where use of euthanasia not only proves as a boon to cease the unending pain but also helps to extinguish the mental turbulence.
Henceforth, it can be said that the legalization of euthanasia to the world at large is still a far going journey. We can either cite with arguments or reasons, but still we can't blame the opposite sides as both the arguments and reasons are rational and persuasive in their own ways. It is the question of ‘If this, then you are right and If that, then you are also right.’