Euthanasia a humane alternative

Principles are not only hypothetical questions, but also a real concern.

Why should a woman who finds having a baby inconvenient be allowed to abort her child while the aged person whose every moment is a nightmare is forbidden self-liberation?” This rhetoric posed by journalist Harry Schwartz of The New York Times encompasses the illogical premises of euthanasia laws. The cultural reputation of euthanasia tends to bear negative connotations. However, in the medical field today, euthanasia can not only be a humane solution, but also it is a vital alternative to the slow, painful deaths that medical technologies can sustain.

Medical practices are becoming exponentially more advanced. With the implementations of new life-support inventions, the gap between death and life is being narrowed and filled with controversial questions of morality. At what point do we stop sustaining life, or should it even be done in the first place? Current laws are placing a double standard on the ideologies of the medical field. If the option to sustain life that otherwise would be nonexistent, it must be exactly that – an option. A person who’s been in a serious car accident doesn’t have the coherency to accept or deny artificial life preservation. Where one might naturally die, life preservation techniques might imprison victims into a life of dependency and monotonous days of a feeble existence.

Euthanasia principles are not only hypothetical questions, but also are prevalent and a very real concern for the path of doctors and health care in the future. A perfect example of this was found in the Terri Schiavo case. Without proper legislation defining acceptable use of euthanasia, every family quarrel will spring national controversy. Furthermore, the morality aspect of euthanasia should not even be subject to legislative scrutiny. Life, as defined by the Constitution, is a right ordained by God, not an obligation. However, as some argue, euthanasia is not about the right of death. If it were, then why aren’t suicide attempts and self-infliction criminalized? The problem lies in the substantive procedures of physician-assisted suicide. The action of one human pulling the proverbial plug on another is one that juries have a hard time looking past.

Nonetheless, courts are making headway at the civil rights forefront. In January the U.S. Supreme Court granted the end of life in the case of Gonzales v. Oregon. Pro-euthanasia activist Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices, a pro-euthanasia organization, touted, “It reaffirms the liberty, dignity and privacy Americans cherish at the end of life.” It is time for a progressive movement to start doing what is in the best interest of the patient. All this new medical technology is intended to improve the security of our well-being. In fact, the opposite has turned out to be the reality of these advancements. If the patient comes first, then so should their wishes. This only can be realized with the option of euthanasia. No one should be denied the civil right to keep their last days on earth ones to remember. Euthanasia is the humane alternative to painful ends, and many times is the only hope of true self-liberation.

Becca Lange is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected].