Quality of life is widely discussed nowadays, but a topic that is not really taken into consideration and is kept out of the discussion boards is euthanasia. We, from the E Party, know that this is a very polemic issue that holds complex ethical and moral dilemmas, but we want it to be openly discussed and analyzed.
Currently, there is no national consensus in the United States yet, since some states have legalized it and some have not. We propose that euthanasia becomes legal in the entire country, and we will explain the reasons for that.
Some people say that euthanasia is not ethical because it devalues human life, it is by all means a way of killing (some even say it is murder), and that the ones who request euthanasia are not in their right mind so it should not be taken into consideration.
On the other hand, supporters of euthanasia say that legalizing it is in fact ethical, because people have the right to decide upon their own lives (even if the decision is to terminate it), no one should be forced to suffer if the outcome of their condition is certain death, and it should be an option especially for those undergoing unbearable suffering.
There are several end-of-life terms, the most common of them being euthanasia. The word is originated from Greek: “eu” means “good” and “thanatos” means “death” – altogether, the word euthanasia implies to a “good death”. Humphry (2013), in his website for Euthanasia Research and Guidance, compiled a list of definitions of the terms related to Euthanasia. Some of the most relevant terms are:
- Active euthanasia: intentional act to cause the death of a patient;
- Passive euthanasia: withdrawal of life-support equipment and medications, leading to natural death of the patient;
- Voluntary euthanasia: sufferer deliberately requests or consents to be euthanized;
- Involuntary euthanasia: the person can but does not request nor consent to be euthanized;
- Nonvoluntary euthanasia: patient cannot request or consent to be euthanized, but death is caused supposedly in the interest of that person;
- Physician-assisted suicide: physician provides information, guidance, and means (lethal drugs) by which a dying person can end his/her life;
- Terminal illness: condition for which there is no known cure;
- Palliative care: relief of pain and other discomforts for a hopelessly ill patient (person suffering from a disease that has no cure).
Since centuries B.C. there have been references to euthanasia in history. Active euthanasia and suicide were both tolerated in ancient Rome and Greece. Also, although the Hippocratic Oath prohibited doctors from giving a deadly drug to anybody, not even if asked for, or from suggesting such course of action, few ancient Greek or Roman physicians followed the oath faithfully.
With the rise of Church and religion, in special Christians and Judaism, such practices became condemned. These religions strongly oppose euthanasia. Besides, laws were enacted in order to prohibit physician aid in dying. Then, during the twentieth century, multiple organizations were created around the world that supported euthanasia.
The first country to make it legal was Switzerland, in 1940. Also, the DIGNITAS group (based in Zurich, Switzerland), is the only one in that accepts foreign individuals that wish assistance in dying. However, they only accept requests from individuals that are terminally ill, depressed beyond treatment, or possess a severe mental illness.
After Switzerland, other countries made it legal: Colombia (1997), Albania (1999), Netherlands (2002), Belgium (2002), Luxembourg (2008), and Canada (2016).
In the United States of America, euthanasia is legal in five states: Oregon (1994), Washington (2008), Montana (2008), Vermont (2013), and California (2015).
Studies reveal that in countries where the practice is already permitted by law, people tend to be a lot more favorable towards it than in places where it is still prohibited. And that implies that the population of those countries is experiencing positive effects of the legalization of euthanasia. Therefore, our proposal is to legalize it in the entire country.
However, it is imperative that every person knows that euthanasia requests cannot be made by anyone. There will be several laws and regulations to keep it in order and under control. We, from the E Party, believe that every person should have the freedom of choice. It is a person’s right to request euthanasia.
The request will be analyzed and either approved or denied by a committee consisting of doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and lawyers. We know and we respect that every person has an individual opinion regarding this subject, but we are in favor of turning it into a choice and a right for certain types of patients.
We defend the freedom of choice. The future starts here.