Reasons for Euthanasia

  1. Unbearable pain
  2. Right to commit suicide
  3. People should not be forced to stay alive

1. Unbearable pain as the reason for euthanasia
Probably the major argument in favor of euthanasia is that the person involved is in great pain. Today, advances are constantly being made in the treatment of pain and, as they advance, the case for euthanasia/assisted-suicide is proportionally weakened. Euthanasia advocates stress the cases of unbearable pain as reasons for euthanasia, but then they soon include a "drugged" state. I guess that is in case virtually no uncontrolled pain cases can be found - then they can say those people are drugged into a no-pain state but they need to be euthanasiaed from such a state because it is not dignified. See the opening for the slippery slope? How do you measure "dignity"? No - it will be euthanasia "on demand". The pro-euthanasia folks have already started down the slope. They are even now not stoping with "unbearable pain" - they are alrady including this "drugged state" and other circumstances.

Nearly all pain can be eliminated and - in those rare cases where it can't be eliminated - it can still be reduced significantly if proper treatment is provided. It is a national and international scandal that so many people do not get adequate pain control. But killing is not the answer to that scandal. The solution is to mandate better education of health care professionals on these crucial issues, to expand access to health care, and to inform patients about their rights as consumers. Everyone - whether it be a person with a life-threatening illness or a chronic condition - has the right to pain relief. With modern advances in pain control, no patient should ever be in excruciating pain. However, most doctors have never had a course in pain management so they're unaware of what to do. If a patient who is under a doctor's care is in excruciating pain, there's definitely a need to find a different doctor. But that doctor should be one who will control the pain, not one who will kill the patient. There are board certified specialists in pain management who will not only help alleviate physical pain but are skilled in providing necessary support to deal with emotional suffering and depression that often accompanies physical pain.

2. Demanding a "right to commit suicide" Probably the second most common point pro-euthanasia people bring up is this so-called "right." But what we are talking about is not giving a right to the person who is killed, but to the person who does the killing. In other words, euthanasia is not about the right to die. It's about the right to kill. Euthanasia is not about giving rights to the person who dies but, instead, is about changing the law and public policy so that doctors, relatives and others can directly and intentionally end another person's life. People do have the power to commit suicide. Suicide and attempted suicide are not criminalized. Suicide is a tragic, individual act. Euthanasia is not about a private act. It's about letting one person facilitate the death of another. That is a matter of very public concern since it can lead to tremendous abuse, exploitation and erosion of care for the most vulnerable people among us.

3. Should people be forced to stay alive? No. And neither the law nor medical ethics requires that "everything be done" to keep a person alive. Insistence, against the patient's wishes, that death be postponed by every means available is contrary to law and practice. It would also be cruel and inhumane. There comes a time when continued attempts to cure are not compassionate, wise, or medically sound. That's where hospice, including in-home hospice care, can be of such help. That is the time when all efforts should be placed on making the patient's remaining time comfortable. Then, all interventions should be directed to alleviating pain and other symptoms as well as to the provision of emotional and spiritual support for both the patient and the patient's loved ones.

Much of this page is taken from the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide's "Frequently Asked Questions" web page.

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