Siddhartha Triptahi

IIIT Hyderabad

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Should Euthanasia be legalized in every Country?

Euthanasia(or Mercy Killing) refers to ending one's life in a manner which relieves pain and sufferings. But if a person is in a vegetative state from past many years, then who will decide whether the person is in a great pain and deserves to die with dignity ..
If the person himself is aware of his/her surroundings and appeal for euthanasia, this is entirely a different matter as compared with the situation in which someone else(friend/relative) file the petition for euthanasia.
Keeping both things in mind, and considering all the possibilities, what can we say, "Should Euthanasia Be legalized in every country ?"

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    Mar 12 2011: I think that humanely dealing with the end of life in accordance with the wishes of the dying person should be accomodated in the law, however, my great fear is that whenever there is an abundance of anything that item has very little value. My big fear is that in many countries, unlike India, there will be an abundance of elderly people and the talk has already begun about their cost to the systems. I fear that the elderly will be pressured by families or by governments to give up their lives to 'save useless spending.' Sick or depressed individuals who are in pain are easily manipulated and made to feel guilty.
    • Mar 12 2011: Yes I also thought of this possibility. That is why I included that we need to understand every culture. Most likely India is not the only nation that could go in this direction. That is why we need to ease this in as smartly, respectfully, and as carefully as possible.

      In this particular instance it could create the possibility of a much stricter euthanasia law for India, which in itself could defeat the purpose of euthanasia by denying those who really need it.
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        Mar 13 2011: I agree with Debra that your fear has legitimate grounds based in current society - and not purely your culture. I recently had an episode and collapsed overseas with a life threatening condition. Although legally entitled to receive support - my Australian government did the opposite - I assume because I already have a slow degrading illness (which could retain quality life for many years though) the department responsible refused to help me get hospital treatment. Instead left me stranded without means and told me to beg from strangers. This kind of low level accountability has nothing to do with the constitution. I was lucky that my university saved my life and sent me the money for medical treatment. The woman 'in control' had doctors and specialist referrals to hospital as evidence but didn't care. She just took exception to me anyway and then I assumed from the attitude that because I was already a disabled student my life was no value and they refused to help. In fact, I still remain overseas because of this - as no human rights agency intervened. Fortunately I now have family members, friends as well as the university who have assisted me. But my legal right was to be supported - and I wasn't. She was quite aware that the consequence of doing that could mean death.

        Its not just culture - its systemic accountability and people's attitudes to others they don't know or who don't have power networks. In my case I didn't want to die - I still have some project and things that I feel are valuable to complete on the planet and it is my right to live.

        I can easily see how the elderly and any who don't have close family networks could be overlooked or killed prematurely through simple neglect.
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    Mar 13 2011: It need not be.

    If you think of a country as a social contract habitants hold in a more or less coherent space to organize their way of living... then some cultures and countries would not want Euthanasia.

    We have Euthanasia in Belgium. It think that is a good thing.
    Not withdrawing the people the right to die (or trying to cling to their life) is a good thing.

    I think every sufficiently enlightened culture could allow for it. Or at least discuss it without taboos
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    Mar 13 2011: Under Nature's law we must surely all hold the right to decide whether we remain in mortal vessel on the planet. This can be our choosing at any given moment - yet we are warned of karma in choosing to take our own life. This is primarily through emotional misery - the essence of negativity that has been set off in a process of karma that will survive beyond the mortal coil. What about the termination of suffering? Ultimately it is our choice to make and we can do it at any time. Yet when we ask another to do it for us - we are asking them to breach the very foundation code of our human law 'thou shalt not kill one another'. We are asking another to be murderer. This I personally believe is a selfish way to end our suffering - to leave another behind with the emotional grief, guilt and judgement by others - even capital punishment in some jurisdictions.

    In life - sometimes it is or seems more compassionate to kill. Sometimes we kill simply because we can - that annoying bug or creature we do not like the appearance of. Do we have the right to kill another? Well we have the capacity to do it. Our soldiers who protect our own lives must do it. Debate goes on as to whether a mother should have the right to do it a forming child in her womb. One asks - what of the ectopic pregnancy? In this case either the mother lives or both die.

    So it comes back to how we apply the law. What were the circumstances and what was involved? Was compassion involved?

    I believe killing for reasons of 'compassion' is not a judgement that can be made on a single ruling. I have suffered from a degrading and potentially fatal illness where the pain can be so great - that I feel beyond thresholds of suffering. I then come through with new resilience and find new focus.

    Often people suicide out of depression and not from a valid perspective on life.

    If a person with a terminal illness chooses this I believe they should undertake the deed alone while still able.
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      Mar 13 2011: I am not sure what you mean by "human law" or "nature's law" when referring to things like Karma and the quote "thou shalt not kill one another". These ideas are taken from religious views, so if the point is that we are breaking these laws, it is incorrect to call them 'human' or 'natural'. If you are making the point that nature or humanity dictates our lives then the aforementioned phrases are also an incorrect representation of this. I guess, I'm just curious as to which point you are attempting to make.

      And, lastly, a big point of contention in the discussion of this issue is that the people who would be suffering at the hands of euthanasia are the ones who are unable to advocate whether or not they are in favour of it being applied to them. Thus, the idea of committing suicide prior to needing to be euthanized, is only a small part of the argument against it...
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    Mar 13 2011: As old question as mankind itself. I am all for it.
    I think, euthanasia IS legal in the whole world for everything but humans. I mean, all over the world humans have the right and possibility to decide for animals, plants, the whole natural environment. Most frequent case is when an animal is thought to be in great pain, and we are all allowed to seek means of putting them out of it.
    As I see, human euthanasia is also all over the world, only not properly institutionalised. Right now in most countries euthanasia is declared illegal. Yet, when in those same countries a patient is declared brain dead, close relatives are asked to practise euthanasia i.e. permit "to pull the plug". So that organs could be used for transplant, or costs of maintaining the body could be cut. In poor countries, the machine itself could be needed for another patient with a better outlook.
    In my country, human euthanasia is illegal. A mother, throwing a hair dryer into the bath to help her little daughter of 13 with terminal cancer, and begging with her to do it, went to prison for 20+ years. I have the right, however, to refuse treatment but I'm not going to be given enough morphine to ease the pain sufficiently, or put to sleep until I die. However, I have the right to commit unaided suicide. Very humanistic! In Holland, waiting for the doctor to arrive with the legalized syringe is only useful for the rich with good lawyers. Aided and active euthanasia, where one is able to ask for help, may not the same as situations with totally incapacitated people. But is there really a difference when it comes to making the decision? I think, patients should be given a lethal dose of whatever tablets and let decide themselves, when and where they want to take them.
    Legalised / institutionalized or not, I think, eventually it will always come down to the given situation, and the humanity of the given role-players. As it has always been the case.
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      Mar 13 2011: personally I wouldn't think killing my 13 year old child through electrocution in a bath tub would be a compassionate way to end her suffering.

      Surely the 13 year old begging to die has the capacity to take her own life if she chooses - and in a more humane way such as a large bottle of strong sleeping tablets - that mother might have pointed out in the medicine cabinet.

      We must also remember with young children that the crying and pleading will be with even small things and take steps to protect them. I have witnessed miracle healings of cancer and other illnesses.

      With children and vulnerable elderly who do not have the capacity to decide for themselves - the focus should be on ending their suffering - not their life.
  • Mar 12 2011: I personally believe that euthanasia is a moral obligation. I would of course then like to say it should be legalized in every country. However, a common mistake of human nature is no matter how right or wrong something seems to one's own culture and way of thinking it is something entirely different for another culture and way of thinking. This dose not make the other person right or wrong. For a person in another country, their definition of great pain or dignity may be something completely different. For instance, it could be a matter of honor and not physical pain. It could also be mental pain instead of physical pain.

    Before we go anywhere near launching this idea and influencing its legalization on all nations, we must first be able to respect and understand their culture, perception of life and death, and way of thinking. This is critical because you absolutely cannot impose your own ideas no matter how right them seem upon another culture and expect things to work or go smoothly.
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    Mar 15 2011: Watch Video of Ms. Aruna Shaunbaug(Whose friend filed a petition for Euthanasia and it was dismissed by Supreme Court Of India Few days back allowing passive Euthanasia on Special circumstances).
  • Mar 14 2011: I would say no.

    Anyone who has got to the state of wishing their life to end must have a really bad life. They're probably suffering from some kind of depression, diagnosed or otherwise, meaning that they're not really in their right mind. People who have a death wish should be counseled and helped by other people. Thus they can recover from this ill state of mind and live a good life. I know a lot of people who are in great pain, yet cope with it and live a great life. So I would still say that suicide/euthanasia should be illegal.
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      Mar 14 2011: I find this argument typically very narrow. It is assuming that all levels of chronic pain, whether psychological or physical, can be remedied and all will be well. Unfortunately there are many conditions which are beyond repair with the mind fully intact and fully reasonable. For these situations it just becomes forced suffering for the person in pain.

      Sometimes even when the person suffering has social support they would still wish to die because they are a burden on the people supporting them as well as the system at large. Elderly patients who know they will die from a terminal illness will only burden their family, burden the healthcare system, and place unnecessary suffering on themselves for no reason. Not providing the option of euthanasia is simply placing stress on everyone involved with no benefit to anyone and incurring extra costs for everyone.

      Would it not be better to allow this patient to end his/her suffering through their own choice, allow them to have a proper goodbye with their family, and place less stress on the system all at the same time? Or would you rather the person suffer, surprise their entire family with their sudden and painful death, incur extra costs for hospital stay, plus waste time in a hospital bed that someone else would have had better use for?
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        Mar 14 2011: Jacky, you present an argument that i fear will prevail in the future, not because its the most right or just but because it is finanically the most efficient. People should not surrender their lives because it is convenient for others or cost effective. While I am in favour of people having the right under the law to end intolerable suffering, I am not in favour of anyone persuading or guliting some elderly or ill person into a cost efficient early death. Whether one is religious or one is not- life is a unique and sacred manifestation in this universe. An indiviudal life is one unique and very special adventure and its termination should never be a convenience for others.
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          Mar 16 2011: I don't mean for it to be a cold calculated assessment of monetary value or even of time, but euthanasia should be an available option. Just like the equally controversial topic of abortions having the option is better than not having it and facing the horrible alternatives. Self operated and underground abortions caused just as much, if not more, death than having professional clinics.

          Having the choice of assisted suicide would provide those with chronic insufferable conditions an option, a choice. Any choice that deals so closely with death is never an easy one. Whether it concerns the life of a fetus or of a life at the end of its line the choice will be difficult to make, but it is better to have a choice than not.
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      Mar 15 2011: I started this conversation after Ms. Aruna Shaunbaug Euthanasia petition was dismissed. You should see what happened to her, and what's her condition now....visit and watch her short video created by me.
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    Mar 13 2011: It doesn't have to be. Death is so personal. There are still individuals who do not really give great thought on retaining dignity upon dying.

    I'm also apprehensive of the abuse some people will subject this idea to.

    In the end it's still a personal decision and for me if you're not physically/emotionally capable of ending your life, you have no right to hostage others' sensibilities to end yours if you can no longer take the suffering.
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    Mar 13 2011: Euthanasia should be legal, if the person had a chance to not feel pain one day and still wanted to die for whatever reason that is still their choice and it should be respected. However what is touche in this topic is religion. IF you are feeling pain and can kill yourself do not ask others to do it, that is too big of a burden. Why ask someone who wants to continue living to do something that could possibly be on their mind for a long time.

    People have a right to do whatever they want with their body and this should be universal.
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      Mar 13 2011: Plus, religion tells us that killing an suicide are great sins, thus making it impossible for people of many faiths to mindfully do this, without (in their minds) suffering great consequences..
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      Mar 16 2011: Though I agree with the basic principle of individual choice we still have to keep in mind that our lives are interconnected. All choices have a social impact and that impact is greater now more than ever before. So I would still disagree that suicide in general is acceptable. I still find that ultimately selfish.

      So though I think euthanasia should be an available option, I don't agree that people simply have a right to do what they wish even if it is their own body. We have to be mindful of the impact of our actions on others.
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        Mar 16 2011: indeed suicide is selfish but if you are able to kill yourself for any reason (outside of unbearable pain) in my opinion you are weak minded and would probably not be a productive member of society anyways.

        If a person who wanted to die didn't they would be continuously unhappy until they did. This is why I feel education is so poor in the world. With the right teachings and understandings their is no need to feel upset eternally. Indeed with enlightenment you will always find something else to have a reason for getting up in the morning.
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    Mar 13 2011: It is difficult to group all countries/nations together in this question, because it implies a form of 'global governance' which is sort of impossible to enforce, especially on the issue of euthanasia. Because each country governs itself, and many countries base their political systems and governments on their fundamental religions, the topic of euthanasia would likely have too vast a potential for division-inducing perspectives by individual countries to be ruled on in a 'global' sense.
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      Mar 14 2011: @ Kait This is not the matter which should depends on country to country. Question here is just about an Individual suffering From such a condition that he/she chooses death over life.
      So each of us should think it as a global issue,even the government of each country and a right decision is needed to be taken for the one's Suffering from such a condition