Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia Ethical Analysis
The case against legalization states that if euthanasia was legalized, human equality will be breached because of discrimination and judgment against people whose health condition is deteriorated. One thing that was evident in this recommendation was that the terminology employed such as ‘assisted dying’ were quite vague, since this could mean that the patient was to be allowed to take lethal medication or an overdose which would later assist them to die (Keown 3). The recommendation also stated that it was not whether the physicians were to be permitted to assist the patients to die after a request, but it was to legalize the intentional killing of a patient by the physician or to help the patients commit suicide. Another issue that the author of this article raises is that the many ethical issues that were raised against the legalization of euthanasia were not adequately taken care of by the recommendation by the parliament committee.
This was because some of the arguments that the committee had raised had very poor and unreliable sources of information. About fifty individuals in Victoria, after experiencing intense deterioration in health would kill themselves in painful ways (Keown 16). Also, those who had compassion on their loved ones and assisted them to die peacefully, were being prosecuted as having broken the law. In some other cases, doctors assisted those who were considered to be law breakers in this matter, and the doctors found themselves compromising the regulations of the justice system (Keown 21). However, there solutions were given by the investigative committee: to enforce the law, maintain status quo or change the law. So according to the recommendation, it was necessary to empower the eligible Victorians to terminate their suffering without having to dread any prosecutions.
Ethical demands are clear that it is for good of all people, regardless of who they are and what they suffer from. It is almost obvious that if patients in critical health conditions were given an opportunity, they would definitely choose to die in order to rest from the burden of pain in their bodies. It therefore follows that legalization of euthanasia would put the patients at a point where they can easily access the option of being helped to die, which is not ethical at all, because everyone wants to live. It is unethical to incorrectly pose judgement on the destiny of an individual. Legalizing voluntary euthanasia for some patients is passing on a death sentence for many of them who still have hope of living (Bartels et al 68).
Another ethical consideration about legalization of voluntary euthanasia is the question of who has the power of deciding the fate. When the matter of euthanasia is legalized, it gives the doctors control, and not necessarily the patients. Once put in place, this law would just take a matter of time and the range of patients to suffer under it would be extended (Kitchener 72). For instance, the doctors and physicians will start committing voluntary suicide on patients based on the social status of the person. This means that when the physician discovers that the patient is coming from a poor background, they might just ask them to fill a consent form because they know that even if they were to be allowed what duration of time in the hospital, they would eventually not be able to pay the bills an might die in the hospital.
It is unethical to substitute one’s carelessness and lack of diligence with loss of human life, whether it is voluntary or involuntary. If the clinicians and caregivers were to be keen on what they are supposed to do in their line of duty, then legalization of voluntary euthanasia would be quite unnecessary. Legalization of voluntary euthanasia should not be allowed, just as Keown has pointed out in his article, because it is considered a form of murder. Euthanasia might creep to become a manner of containment of health care cost, and even grow to be non-voluntary and turn out to be an activity against the human life value and dignity. It is ethical to respect human dignity through seeking to get other alternatives for containment of cost, but not through killing patients on the basis of their conditions and sufferings.
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