Euthanasia - assisted suicide

Hazel McCallion Senior Public School
Mississauga, Ontario

By Julia S. (Grade 7)

"It's unethical for the medical profession to prolong someone's suffering by refusing to help a terminally ill patient end his or her life." Assisted suicide is an issue amongst doctors all around the world. Is life too sacred to be taken away unnaturally? Is it against God's will?

Western religions say it is wrong for individuals to end the lives given to them by God. The classic liberal position, that of The Economist, has the opposite point of view. "Individuals have a right to self-determination, and this includes, and perhaps naturally culminates in, the right to cut short one's own life!" If helping will eliminate a person's suffering, what exactly is the problem with that?

Doctors should be allowed to use euthanasia (assisted suicide) at a terminally ill patient's request. A patient shouldn't have to suffer. They shouldn't have to live if they're in too much pain to actually enjoy life. Why keep suffering people alive if they have no reason to live and nothing to live for?

In a survey done by Glamour Magazine, 80% of people surveyed agreed that doctors should help their patients commit suicide. Specific readers offered comments like, "If doctors are permitted to withhold treatment at a patient's request, why shouldn't they be able to facilitate death if that's what the patient wants?" Another reader stated, "We put animals to sleep when they're suffering, why not humans?"

If terminally ill people do not want to live with their condition any longer and they have found someone in the medical profession who will assist them, why should society interfere? Is it really anyone else's business whether they choose to live or die? It does not affect anyone other than the patient and the doctor, so nobody should really "care". An anonymous caregiver said, "My 91-year-old grandfather shot himself in the head to avoid the agony of treatment. Doctor-assisted suicide would not only have allowed him to die with dignity, it would have spared my brother the trauma he suffered when he found my grandfather's body." Because they could not use euthanasia, two people had to suffer because one of them wasn't allowed to die properly and with dignity.

Terminally ill patients should be allowed to use euthanasia if they're suffering, although the moral issue remains; should people be killed? If a patient is suffering, must we let them suffer? Is that really moral? Society doesn't have to interfere. This is strictly between the patient and the doctor. A person should have the right to self-determination. Does society have the right to decide the fate of a greatly suffering person? Is that truly just?

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