Argumentative Paper Euthanasia

2146 Words Mar 26th, 2011 9 Pages
Should Euthanasia be legalized?

Because of remarkable advances in medical technology pharmacology that can artificially prolong a patient’s life, the field of medical ethics has been confronted with a new controversy: the legalization of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. The word Euthanasia comes from the Greek word for “eus” which means godly or well, and “thanathos” which literally means death (F.A. Davis Company, 2001, p. 476). Before its contemporary use, the word euthanasia meant a peaceful, quiet way to depart from earth. However, in modern times, this concept has sparked an incredible controversy. Today, the word euthanasia also commonly, but wrongfully, used for the practices of physician-assisted suicide (PAS).
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26). The legality of euthanasia and PAS differs greatly from country to country. In most countries, both are illegal and punishable by law, with only a few exemptions. The Netherlands have recognized both euthanasia and PAS as lawful; although Belgium legitimatized euthanasia, PAS is still considered a crime (Materstvedt, Clark, & Ellershaw, 2003, p. 97). In Switzerland, active euthanasia is illegal; however assisted suicide legal, as long as the assister does not benefit from the death of the requester (2003, p. 98).

Arguments against Euthanasia and PAS

Opponents of euthanasia and PAS point out that there is a great potential for abuse if such practices gain legal and moral acceptance. These opponents refer to this risk as a slippery slope. The concept of the slippery slope proposes that “all or some consequences which could possibly flow from permitting a particular practice are morally unacceptable” and that “endorsing some premises, doing some action, or adopting some policy will lead to the definite outcome that is generally judged to be wrong or bad” (Lewis, 2007, p. 197). Hence opponents of euthanasia and PAS argue that “once we allow voluntary euthanasia we may (or will) fail to make the crucial distinction, and then we will reach the morally unacceptable outcome of allowing involuntary euthanasia” (2007, p. 198). Medical

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