Do we really have the right to our own life? Imagine a close relative of yours was slowly dying of cancer; every breath they took was Just as agonising as the last. They are confined to their soiled beds and held prisoner of their own internal anguish, unable to move and with no recognised medication or drug capable to numb the agonising pain associated with death. The family member explains that they are happiest when they are sleeping, proceeding to ask you to end their torment. What would you do?
If you assisted the individual in hastening their death, you would be accountable for their murder, subsequently erving a prison sentence for the murder of your relative. What the relative wants you to commit is Euthanasia. Euthanasia is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma. ” Many people, like any sensitive topic, draw conclusions about Euthanasia from sources and facts that are either Pro-Euthanasia or from the sources that are against Euthanasia.
So tonight ladies and gentlemen, I will discuss the positives and negatives of this controversial taboo from a non-biased perspective and draw my onclusions as an aid so you can make the impartial decision for yourselves whether we should have the right to control our own very existence. As of 2011, active euthanasia is only legal in the three Benelux countries: the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. However topical the subject may be, it is still illegal in the United Kingdom.
In the United Kingdom, in 1987 a survey suggested that 72% of the survey respondents were in favour of legalised euthanasia. Given this statistic, one would assume euthanasia would be a legal choice but as we know, it’s not. So why is it illegal? The heated debate is drawn between the warring social, religious and political groups. These groups argue that the fundamental issue of Euthanasia is its sheer margin for abuse. This abuse can be noted in the Netherlands.
Where in 1990, 1030 Dutch patients were killed without their consent; more than 12% of these patients were mentally competent were not consulted on whether they would live or die. These deaths, of course, were essentially murder, since Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands; these deaths went and will remain unpunished. The extent of abuse in the Dutch Euthanasia system also extends to the lethal injection of disabled newborn babies.
Of course, babies are incapable of making a decision whether they want to live with their disabilities, yet 8% of all infant mortalities in Holland occur as a result of Euthanasia. It is apparent that we have to imagine a society where people live in constant fear for their lives, where we no longer attempt to accommodate people’s disabilities because the disabled are simply disposed of and where hospitals refuse to treat people for their illnesses, but kill hem instead because someone determines that their lives are not worth living.
This is precisely what some pro-Euthanasia enthusiasts believe, that we should put an end to lives that are no longer worth living. So ladies and gentlemen let me ask you a simple question; what makes your lives worth living? Is it your Job? Your favourite football team? Or simply your children? However, what if an individual pleads that their demise be hastened? what if the form of Euthanasia is voluntary and the person insists that they are to perish? Then, I believe that this person should be Euthaised.
In my opinion, I don’t think that it is necessary to delve deep into the realms of every single positive that exists on the topic of Euthanasia. However, there is one main positive, the individual is finally happy, put out of their everlasting terror. They are finally allowed to die with dignity. You may think that there is no dignity in death. However, put yourself in their shoes. Unable to clean up your own excrement, unable to clean yourself, unable to feed yourself. Most importantly, in such a vulnerable state, that you are incapable of taking their OWN life.