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Euthanasia, merciful or not?

29 November 2012, 10:58

Should terminally ill patients have the right to be assisted in the taking of their own lives?

Assisted suicide, more commonly known as euthanasia ‘from the Greek word eu=good + thanatos=death’ refers to the effortless method of terminating one’s life.

Let’s point out a couple of issues that one would have concerning this method.

Religion. Religion is one of the many points we can look at regarding this question. Many religions are opposed to assisted suicide. Religions such as Catholicism, Lutheran, the Orthodox Church and many more believe that the taking of one’s own life is inhumane and against the will of god, also, that god gave us life and that only he can take it away. However, the Shinto religion in Japan believes ‘the prolonging of life using artificial means is a disgraceful act against life; they therefore support the act of active euthanasia, in other words, assisted suicide.

Freedom of choice is another aspect we can look at pertaining to the terminally ill and their decisions. According to the South African Constitution, everyone has a freedom of choice, the freedom to choose who we want to associate with, the freedom to choose how and where we want to live, but not the freedom of choice in how and when we want to die, because in South Africa, assisted suicide is against the law and seen as morally wrong? Wrong by who? On the other hand, there are countries where assisted suicide is legal, for example, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the State of Oregon in the US, the Autonomous Community of Andalusia (Spain) and Thailand. Steve Barksby from Manchester, United Kingdom once said “I want to be able to say goodbye properly to my friends and family and have the death of my choice. I do not want to be made to suffer the indignities I have seen my friends endure”

It is not just the pain and suffering the terminally ill have to endure, but also the pain and suffering of their friends and family that should be taken into consideration. The helplessness they feel by watching their loved one deteriorate, and not being able to assist in anyway possible.

These are but just some of the reasons why a terminally ill patient, that wants to die by assisted suicide, should be allowed to do so, especially if their quality of life had been diminished to such a state that they can no longer function on their own. Rather allow that person the freedom to end their pain and suffering as they see fit, and die with some dignity and in a more merciful way.

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