Legalizing Euthanasia: Arguments Against
There are numerous reasons why euthanasia should not be allowed in the United States. From an ethical standpoint, legalizing euthanasia is a statement that some lives are worthless. It communicates that the lives of people with impairment and those with chronic illnesses are disposable. Additionally, mercy killing of individuals with chronic illnesses or impairments could lead to involuntary euthanasia. The latter is closely related to eugenics which seeks to eliminate undesirable traits from the human population (Sulmasy et al., 2016). For instance, killing of people with chronic illness such as cystic fibrosis or dementia could eventually lead to eugenics. Euthanasia is also unethical because it would place pressure on people with chronic diseases or incurable illnesses to end their lives. A patient may be unwilling to initiate physician-assisted suicide but succumb to real or imagined coercion to request it. Since there is no way to properly regulate and oversee euthanasia, it is impossible to guarantee that it will always be conducted ethically.
The argument against euthanasia can also be evaluated from a medical perspective. The principle of non-maleficence dictates that doctors must not harm the sick while beneficence calls for them to act in the best interest of patients. Therefore, euthanasia would be in violation of both medical ethical principles (Fontalis et al., 2018). In addition, legalizing mercy killing would deter physicians from researching cures for terminal diseases. It is also likely to decrease the quality of care provided to people with chronic illnesses. Instead of permitting euthanasia in America, the healthcare system should improve palliative and hospice care. Improving end of life care would eliminate the need for physician-assisted suicide. This entails providing patients with adequate painkillers as well as psychosocial support during this time. In summary, euthanasia in the United States should not be allowed.
Fontalis, A., Prousali, E., & Kulkarni, K. (2018). Euthanasia and assisted dying: what is the current position and what are the key arguments informing the debate? Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 111(11), 407-413. Web.
Sulmasy, D. P., Travaline, J. M., Mitchell, L. A., & Ely, E. W. (2016). Non-faith-based arguments against physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia. The Linacre Quarterly, 83(3), 246-257. Web.