Matters of life and death: Euthanasia

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  • Created by: Chloe
  • Created on: 12-05-13 16:04

Matters of life and death

The nature of euthanasia

KEY WORDS

Assited suicide-providing a seriously ill person with the means to commit suicide.

Euthanasia-he painless killing of someone dying of a painful disease.

Non-voluntary euthanasia-ending someones life painlessly when they are unable to ask, but you have good reason for thinking they would want you to do so.

Quality of life-the idea that life must have some benefits for it to be worth living.

Voluntary euthanasia-ending life painlessly when someone in great pain asks for death.

Why euthanaisa is a controversial issue

1. Many people want euthanasia to remain illegal because:

  • There is always likley to be doubt as to whether or not it's what the person really wants.
  • There is the problem of whether or not a disease is terminal, a cure may be found or the patient may go into remission.
  • Doctors would face problems if they started to kill patients, even if the patient requested it.
  • People might change their mind about wanting euthanasia but by then it would be too late.
  • Who would decide to allow the euthanasia to take place? What safeguards could there be to make sure only people who really wanted euthanaisa were being killed.

2. Many people want euthanasia to be legal because:

  • Advances in medecine have led to people being kept alive who would have previously died but the quality of life is appalling.
  • The development of life support machines has already brought in a form of a euthanasia as doctors and relatives can agree to switch off such machines if there is no chance of the patient recovering.
  • Just as doctors can switch of life support machines, they can now stop treatment.
  • Many people feel it is a basic human right to have control about ending your life.

Christian attitudes to euthanasia

1. Catholics and many liberal protestants believe that all forms of euthanasia and assited suicide are wrong, however

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