Euthanasia

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Euthanasia is the practice of ending the life of a person or being because they are perceived as living an intolerable life, in a painless or minimally painful way either by lethal injection, drug overdose, or by the withdrawal of life support. Euthanasia is a controversial issue because of conflicting religious and humanist views.Voluntary euthanasia occurs with the fully informed request of a decision from a competent adult patient or that of their surrogate.Nonvoluntary euthanasia occurs without the fully informed consent and fully informed request of a decision-competent adult patient or that of their surrogate.Involuntary euthanasia occurs over the objection of a patient or their surrogate. An example of this might be if a patient with decisional capacity is told they will be euthanized.The Slippery SlopeMany people worry that if voluntary euthanasia were to become legal, it would not be long before involuntary euthanasia would start to happen.This is called the Slippery Slope argument. In general form it says that if we allow something relatively harmless today, we may start a trend that results in something currently unthinkable becoming accepted.Those who oppose this argument say that properly drafted legislation can draw a firm barrier across the slippery slope.The Print media reports SMHNovember, 2002 article called Endgame in Australia gives a summary of legislation across Australia with regard to Euthanasia, in A further article titled The Unbearable Pain of Being reported in The Age May 31 2002 gives opinion with regard to slippery slope argument, with the Dutch experience where Euthanasia can be performed with the authority of two separate psychiatrist’s reports.

The Catholic Church does not approve of any methods to purposely kill someone even the terminally ill. Catholicism teaches that people should have food and water until the die naturally.When a person is suffering from a terminal illness or other end of life medical conditions, I believe palliative care professionals can assist these persons in alleviating their suffering without the need for the persons electing to consider any form of euthanasia.When the power to take life is taken into human hands, we can use it for evil purposes or misuse it. Someone might call a person with a disability not fit to live and choose to kill them. In addition, the elderly might not want to be a burden on their family and kill themselves. Euthanasia is a very dangerous slippery slope.

Accepting euthanasia weakens society’s respect for life.