Understanding Euthanasia

by KW on April 14, 2016 - 10:29pm


  The article 3 of the human right of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to life (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights). But what happens when someone gives up their right to live and wishes to die? The right to die is a subject that brings up a lot of controversy. An example is euthanasia which is a way to kill someone that is very sick to avoid more suffering (Euthanasia).   This text will go over the different thoughts on the practice of euthanasia on human beings.

  Firstly, it is very important to understand what euthanasia is. It isn’t meant to save someone or to let the patient die. Contrariwise, euthanasia is a form of assisted suicide for very ill patients (animals as well) with almost no chance of recovery that is meant to liberate from pain and avoid any further suffering (Euthanasia).  In the United States, euthanasia is almost illegal in every state. However in the last decade, a lot of laws about assisted suicide have been reviewed (State-by-State Guide). Thus, we can expect more states to legalize euthanasia.

  Brittany Maynard was an American that suffered from terminal brain cancer that couldn’t be cured. Her story became popular throughout the World and later, in November 1st 2014, she decided to end her life with assisted suicide. What’s so special about Brittany Maynard is that she promoted the idea of euthanasia as being an honorable death. That had for effect make people think about the morality of euthanasia and in addition more than half of the states reviewed their laws. She stated “My dream is that every terminally ill American has access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity. Please take an active role to make this a reality.” (The Brittany Maynard Fund).

  In general, people are uncertain about the morality of euthanasia. Those who support it claim that its use reduces the useless pain and that the patient should have the right to judge for himself. That is totally right and understandable. On the other hand, people complain that the practice of euthanasia resumes to killing someone which is totally awful. Most people tend to agree that it should stay illegal because the legalization of euthanasia is extremely complex. Indeed all the case-by-case situation must be taken into account.  For example, what if the patient is not in the state to make a proper judgement but wishes to die? Can the family have the final verdict? What if a cure is found a year later? Are the policies so complex that it is better to give up legislation?  The use of euthanasia could be great, as it could be awful.

  In addition, an interesting fact is that ‘’euthanasia’’ originally means ‘’gentle and easy death’’ based on Augustus Caesar’s death (A General History of Euthanasia). Could that be the beginning of painless and easy death for everyone in a near future (for example a system for people with reduced capacity to just go and die)?

  In conclusion, people are divided between the acceptance and the denial of the euthanasia and this is true in the United States as well. However there’s more progress made by the public to understand the needs of patients.



United Nations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Paris: United Nations, 16 Dec. 1948. United Nations. Web. 13 April 2016. <http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/>  


American Life League. Euthanasia. Virginia: American Life League, n.d. American Life League. Web. 13 April 2016. <http://www.all.org/learn/euthanasia/?gclid=CJeHtfXljMwCFQKTaQodRE8Kvw>


Pro&Cons. State-by-State Guide to Physician-Assisted Suicide. Portland: Pro&Cons, 10 May 2015. Pro&Cons. Web. 13 April 2016. <http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000132>


‘’The Brittany Maynard Fund.’’ Compassion & Choices. Compassion & Choices, n.d. Web. 13 April 2016.


Life. A General History of Euthanasia. New Zealand: Life, n.d. Life. Web. 13 April 2016. <http://www.life.org.nz/euthanasia/abouteuthanasia/history-euthanasia1/>



You make good points regarding both sides, but what i think about this subject is that people who oppose euthanasia are most certainly not people with their amount of days left to live counted on the calendar and in excruciating pain. From their point of view, it might look awful to end someone's life but in the end, i think it's your own choice if you wish to live your last days in happiness and not nailed to a bed in pain. We do it for dogs and cats, our beloved animals whom we do not wish to see suffer, why not allow our loved ones to receive the same opportunity, to go away in peace.

To begin, I would like to say that I very much enjoyed reading your paper on Euthanasia; I thought it was very well written and well structured. Looking at it from a Utilitarianism perspective, this principle focuses on the outcome and benefits of the group. I agree that euthanasia is meant to be a painless and gentle death however; the importance of human life is the greatest priority. Even though the act of euthanasia is meant to be a painless death without any suffering there is suffering, for the loved ones of that individual who decide to complete the act of euthanasia. From utilitarianism perspective the act of euthanasia does not benefiting the group. It will increase more suffering for the loved ones of that individual and the decision of death should never be allowed to end by choice under any circumstances. The ethical dilemma of euthanasia has no clear answer however, looking at it from a utilitarianism perspective death is not the best outcome as it does not benefit the whole group and does result in suffering for the loved ones of that individual. I really enjoyed reading your paper and I liked how you included the example of the woman who decided to end her life with assisted suicide.