Who wants to live in pain and terror? No one. Therefore why should we put people who want to die through the pain of living, when we can ease them of it by ending their lives? We have the ability of giving people the choice of having an easy death over a difficult and painful death. If patients consent, we should do all we can to help them.
One of the arguments against euthanasia is that any form of suicide is devastating for the people left behind who love the person who has decided that his or her life is no longer worth living: it is especially damaging for children.However it is also devastating for family and friends to watch the person suffer in pain to stay alive. How is it that at the end of the most murderous century in human history, voluntary euthanasia remains illegal? Over 200 million people worldwide have been killed by deliberate human intervention since 1900. That is one eighth of the world’s population in 1900. Yet almost anywhere in the world, people who with good reason want to end their own lives are not permitted to gain any assistance in doing so. How are we valuing human life? Why is life regarded as so much more sacred than death?Surely we should regard death as being as sacred as life, because it is an integral and inevitable part of it.
It is curious that the rich western countries with the facilities to do so, do not respond to the murder on a grand scale that carries on around the world. What happens in an African country when civil war, perhaps with genocidal implications, blows up – Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, or either of the Congos? We extract our own westerners, and then leave them to it, as if we did not care about the loss of human life, because it is only white skins that we have to worry about.That defines another paradox, which is that the right to justice, to be treated equitably, seems to apply only within one’s national boundaries.
How can it be that such a basic right, which is revered by political scientists, philosophers, theologians, and everybody who talks about human rights, seems to apply only to one’s own people and not to humans across a border, just a mark on a map away? At the moment euthanasia is allowed in Holland but not in the United Kingdom. Another argument against is that the purpose of a doctor’s profession is to save lives, surely not to purposely end them.But as well as getting patients better, doctors should also help patients to feel better and if patients feel better being not alive, they should have the choice of whether to live or not. There is pressure on the NHS to improve it’s services but there has always been the problem of funding.
At the moment money is being spent on patients who have lived a happy life and no longer have the will to live, which could be put to better use, helping the people who want to stay in this world.I am not advocating the use of euthanasia for ‘culling’ those who are no longer productive. However, there are in western developed countries a lot of old people who really feel that they have lived quite long enough, for whom life holds very little, and who would prefer to be out of this life. It would be foolish for a society wishing to enhance the stability of the whole globe to say that we have to carry on doing everything possible, using up the world’s resources, on people who don’t want to continue to exist.