Research Paper on Euthanasia: Fighting for the Right to Die
The concept of death exists in every culture and is viewed from a variety of angles. Moreover, the subject of life and death has been discussed in a number of works and by numerous philosophers, most за whom agree that the right to live must be viewed as an irrefutable right of any human being. Very few, however, consider the right to die; as a result, the ethical dilemma, which the subject of euthanasia presupposes, is quite hard to tackle.
Acceptance of the concept of euthanasia does not trigger the process of cheapening of life as a notion among people; quite on the contrary, accepting euthanasia as a legal and healthcare measure for terminating lives of the people, who suffer from terminal illnesses, will have a positive effect on the moral fabric of society, as it will allow for reconsidering the current values and the significance of life, thus, prompting a more efficient search for improving the quality thereof.
The status of euthanasia remains illegal in most states except for several states. Other forms of euthanasia, however, are acceptable in some of the countries, including several states of the USA. Particularly, the concept of assisted suicide, also known as physical aid in dying, or PAD (Lester, 2013), is considered legal in Bernalillo County, NM, Vermont, Washington and Oregon. In addition, the phenomenon of passive euthanasia exists in India. The specified type of euthanasia is traditionally interpreted as the cessation of providing the patient with life sustaining medicine (Materstvedt et al., 2003).
One must admit, though, that a range of researchers outline several outcomes of the euthanasia law that will have an obviously damaging effect on people. Although the issue of euthanasia remains one of the most controversial topics to address and has sparked a range of heated discussions, most scholars agree that euthanasia should not be legalized for a number of reasons. Particularly, the proponents of euthanasia assume that the adoption of the corresponding law will affect only the people, who are going to exercise their right to die. The above-mentioned assumption can, in fact, be viewed as erroneous; apart from the people, who want to undertake the procedure, euthanasia will also affect the rest of the society. Particularly, the possibility for a rapid rise in crime rates, i.e., the emergence of murders under the guise of instances of euthanasia, deserves to be mentioned (Cromby et al., 2014).
It should be noted, though, that, while the specified claims have a point, they still fall flat once the reinforcement the existing justice system and making a set of rigid requirements for the euthanasia procedure to occur is suggested. Indeed, the above-mentioned measures help address the major legal and moral concerns, therefore, creating the environment for complete clarity and transparency in the healthcare setting.
The research in question was carried out as a qualitative study, as there was no major need in quantifying the results. In order to gather the information among the participants, surveys were provided. The surveys included questions regarding people’s life values. After the information was retrieved, the participants were suggested to imagine the scenario, in which euthanasia was allowed, and received another survey determining the change in their values in the latter environment.
The participants’ concept of life, their life values and the appreciation of not only their own life, but also the lives of other people and living beings was viewed as the key dependent variable. As far as the independent variables were concerned, the adoption of euthanasia and the prohibition thereof must be listed as the key components of the research.
According to the outcomes of the study, most participants (16 out of 20, i.e., 80%) agreed that the introduction of euthanasia is likely to cause a major social shock among the U.S. population. 70% of the participants (14 people), however, accepted the concept rather eagerly and claimed that the introduction of euthanasia as a legal medical tool for terminating suffering of terminally ill patients is necessary for humanist reasons. Three participants (15%), however, were unable to complete the survey with the scenario that presupposed legalization of euthanasia.
The results displayed by the participants show that the issue of euthanasia remains dubious for a variety of reasons. The fact that some of the participants were unable to complete the survey in the environment, where euthanasia was supposedly legalized, may signify that the incorporation of euthanasia into the set of tools for tending to the needs of terminally ill people may distort the idea of life values within a society and encourage suicidal attempts among a range of people.
Although a small percentage of the participants failed to complete the survey, the fact that most of the people included into the research group managed to sustain the commonly accepted concept of morality in the environment, where euthanasia was legalized, shows that the latter can, in fact, exist as a tool for addressing the needs of the terminally ill. However, as the study shows, a set of rigid legal regulations that define the application of euthanasia related measures must be established prior to the adoption thereof into the U.S. healthcare system.
Cromby, J., Brown, S. D., Gross, H., Locke, A. & Patterson, A. E. (2010). Constructing crime, enacting morality: emotion, crime and anti-social behaviour in an inner-city community. British Journal of Criminology, 50(5). 873–895.
Lester, D. (2013). Suicide prevention: Resources for the millennium. New York, NY: Routledge.
Materstvedt, L. G., Clark, D., Ellershaw, J., Førde, R., Gravgaard, A-.M. B., Muller-Busch, H. C., ... & Rapin, C.-H. (2003). Euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide: a view from an EAPC Ethics Task Force. Palliative Medicine, 17(2), 97 /101