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Arguments Against Euthanasia Analysis Philosophy Essay

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Euthanasia or mercy killing is a moral act done out of duty to those in suffering or an act for self-benefit under cover of morality or is it opening door to many illegal issues in the society.

Euthanasia should never be legalized in any of its forms else it will be practiced in all cases even where consent of a patient is not taken into account, for personal benefits by relatives, health insurance companies or the state.


To understand what is euthanasia? Its true meaning and how it's been implemented? We shall be looking into its definition and types.

Meaning of the word Euthanasia:

The word Euthanasia is taken from a Greek word meaning "good or happy death''. Narrowly speaking it is equivalent to killing so in these terms if allowing a person to die is not killing than its not euthanasia.

Directly or indirectly, euthanasia imposes many pressures on the elderly and people with disabilities . These pressures stem from family or society. Patients who are ill or dependent often feel worthless and a burden to their family and loved ones. The growing number of cases of abuse or neglect of elderly or those with disabilities illustrates that this is a major issue to consider. An overburdened health care system limits the quality of care and may create pressure on patients, making them choose death. Patients estranged from their family may think that euthanasia is the only solution.

By considering this we can conclude that allowing someone to die can be moral but killing someone which comes under euthanasia is wrong. In broader terms there are philosophers who say that not only acts of killing but also to allow someone to die comes under euthanasia .Therefore if allowing someone to die is not immoral than euthanasia should not be taken as wrong always it depends on the condition under which death is caused.
The only state in the U.S. that allows euthanasia is Oregon. They call it “The Oregon Death,” and the law allows doctors to prescribe lethal medications to patients who have terminal illnesses and have been given 6 months to live. There are people who beat the odds and live longer than expected. Plus, if someone is given 6 months to live, shouldn’t they live those months to the fullest? Jonathan H. Pincus wrote a letter saying, “Many patients who could’ve been allowed to die are alive and doing well because of some new advance in therapeutics which occurred during the course of their illness.” It just takes some time. What if they euthanize someone who has been given 6 months to live and about 2 months later they find a cure to their illness? It’s simply not fair.

In other words follow consequentialist theory by looking at the end and not the means by which it is reached. But in narrow terms or broader terms its one and the same thing.

Types of Euthanasia:

Active form {positive form}: refers to acts of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from incurable conditions or diseases. For example giving a lethal dose of medicine to kill a terminally ill patient.

Doctors have stopped trying to save some of their patients. “If a physician withholds maximum efforts from patients he considers hopelessly ill, he will unavoidably withhold maximum effort from the occasional patient who could have been saved.” In other words, if a physician doesn’t give their all to save a patient who is hopelessly ill, then they’re not giving their all to save that one in a million patient who could’ve made it. And if you ask me, that’s pretty sick. They should be doing all they can to save all their patients, not giving up before they even try.

Passive form: refers to an act of allowing a patient to die example not giving antibiotics to a terminally ill patient who has acquired pneumonia.

Those who take euthanasia in broader spectrum are in favor of both active and passive euthanasia.

Voluntary Euthanasia: refers to cases in which an adult competent patient requests or gives consent to a particular course of treatment or non-treatment for instance patients who in sensible states of minds take their own lives directly or by refusing some form of treatment also include case where people allow their relatives to take decision on their behalf regarding their lives.

Non voluntary euthanasia: A non-voluntary decision about death refers to cases in which decision is not made by the person who is to die for instance when patient cannot make their own decision as they are not in their sensible state of mind either comatose or in vegetative states due to an accident or any other disease, unconscious with irreparable brain damage and on mechanical life supports.

Those who take euthanasia in narrow terms there are 4 possible kinds of death decisions

Voluntary euthanasia

Non voluntary euthanasia

Voluntary allowing to die

Non voluntary allowing to die

First two are taken as immoral last two can be taken as justified.

For people who take euthanasia in abroad term there are again 4 forms

Voluntary active euthanasia

Non voluntary active euthanasia

Voluntary passive euthanasia

Non voluntary passive euthanasia

General Arguments:

Against euthanasia:

1-One should not interfere in the doings of God: As God has a purpose to everything.

Counter point:

A person in favor of it usually says how one can be sure of what god wants or what god has in His mind.

God has given us intellect to make one's life as better as possible.
Euthanasia is done to a person with his consent. It is the decision of that person if he wants to do it. According to the article “Arguments Against Euthanasia”, people might decide to go for euthanasia because of emotional and psychological pressures. For example, a patient is suffering because of an illness and his doctor said to him that it is better for him to die. That person might go for it because he suffers too much and his doctor said that it is better. Murder is like the involuntary euthanasia. You take someone’s life without his consent. If euthanasia was legal, murderers would say that they killed a person because of euthanasia in their defense.

Man with his knowledge has made advancements in medicine to cure certain diseases thinking in this context one should not even treat an illness thinking it's against GOD's will. This is definitely not the case as by practicing euthanasia we will be going against the nature.
According to the article “Euthanasia: Arguments Against Euthanasia”, people might think that death is better than being sick. They might think that death is the only solution to problems. People who support euthanasia say that it is done as self-defense. For example, a soldier is brutally wounded and might die if not treated immediately. Is partner decides to ask his consent for euthanasia to end his suffering. Killing for self-defense means that you kill to save another one’s life but in euthanasia, you do not save anyone’s life. Euthanasia devalues lives because it tells us that we can take our or someone’s life easily.

Life is a gift of God and it should be taken as a blessing rather than to end it if it becomes burdensome.

2-No surety of the fact that one's consent is voluntary: maybe someone has agreed to give up life just out of emotions but she/he doesn't mean it in real.


People argue that in most of the cases where people are suffering from incurable disease voluntarily requests to take their lives.

But people going through illness are some times in a confused ,disoriented state, may have hearing problems or psychiatric illness can we be sure that by requesting to take away their lives they mean euthanasia or they are just being emotional or misinterpreting the consequences of their consent.

3-Mistaken diagnosis: It's been seen that there is always the probability that doctor's diagnosis can be wrong so to take one's life just based on doctor's diagnosis is not correct.


Mostly doctors are not wrong in their diagnosis it's very less a chance that they are wrong about incurable illnesses.

But what if they are wrong as there is always a chance to misdiagnosis and if your case falls in it then one would be a fool to give away their life just because it's a high probability that one may have the incurable disease.

4-Allowing euthanasia may be used in wrong ways: by allowing voluntary euthanasia we will open a door to non-voluntary euthanasia as well. People who are very old and it's difficult to look after them, invalid, disable children all will be given up for euthanasia which will cause moral injustice in the society at large.

Doctors should try to save lives and not to end them. Even though their patients are hard to cure, they should still try and not make euthanasia an option. According to the article “Euthanasia: Arguments Against Euthanasia”, doctors should not decide as God. They do not have the right to decide whether their patients would live or die. As long as their patients are alive, there is a chance that they will be cured and that they will live.


Voluntary death decisions could only be allowed and make strict rules to practice it so that involuntary death decisions are restricted.

In many cases we can't distinguish between voluntary and in voluntary euthanasia so there is always a chance that we misjudge things.

5-Life is precious and one should preserve sanctity of life:

Counter point:

Everyone has personal rights to decide to live or give-up life.

By saying this we are allowing suicides in society.

If suicide is not taken as a good act then how can we take euthanasia in good terms? People are not allowed to take their own lives in their hands.
Another argument against euthanasia is that it is essentially homicide because the doctors will kill the patient even if it has been approved by the patient himself or the family of the patient. Euthanasia is not that different from murder because they both involve killing a person. The only difference is that in euthanasia, there is mercy and consent involved while in murder there is none (Tulloch 82). If murder is prohibited by law because people take matters into their own hands and kill others, then euthanasia should also be banned because doctors take matters into their own hands and kill their patients even if there is consent from the patients and their families or relatives.

Life is bestowed upon us by God almighty and however painful it is we all have to live through it that's part of bargain where there are good times there are bad times as well.

5-Improvement of Palliative care:

When people will not be allowed to do euthanasia naturally many pharmaceuticals will try to invent new drugs to find out cure of a certain illness which will bring improvement in health care and will open up new possibilities for the treatment of incurable diseases.

Counter point:

For old and invalid individuals nothing can bring a change accept that they are blessed with a new life which is not humanly possible in any way so voluntary euthanasia should be allowed to those old and ill who have no hope for any technology or medicine to cure them.

God only knows when a life will end who are we to end a life thinking it to have reached its end.

My Point of view about Euthanasia:

I am against euthanasia: because 1-Euthanisa would not only be for people who are terminally ill:

It will become permissible for those as well who are not seriously ill as anyone who will not be willing to endure pain will ask for euthanasia.

2-Doctors are those who cure a life not who takes it away:

Because to me doctors are there to save lives and cure people .They may ease suffering of an ill but by killing one's life in order to escape him from the suffering is not morally correct.

Euthanasia is another term for mercy killing. It is usually done by doctors to their patients who are terminally ill. Although euthanasia is done by doctors in certain situations to patients and is legal in some countries, euthanasia should not be practiced or be legalized because it devalues lives, it might become involuntary and doctors should cure and not kill.

It will generate serious issues in the society.

3-Euthanasia can become a way of health care cost containment:

By allowing euthanasia people will start using it for their benefits. Old, senile people who are difficult to be taken care off will be put for euthanasia to help their families save money from paying their hospital bills.

As she lies there, holding back her tears, the doctor says, “ There’s nothing we can do, I’m sorry.” But is there really nothing he can do? Ever since euthanasia was introduced, it seems as though doctors have stopped trying there best to save their patients. Even though people don’t want to live the pain, euthanasia should be illegal.

Disable, abnormal, mentally retarded infants or children will be given off by parents for euthanasia to ease the suffering of the child as well as to save the family from the burden of the child's treatment costs.

In order to save the charges a Government has to pay for the ill, disabled, old persons, the state or government will start putting them for euthanasia.

Insurance companies in order to get off a heavily insured terminally ill patient would be in favor of euthanasia so that they don't have to pay for that person unlimited hospital bills.

4-Euthanasia will become non voluntary:

Organizations working for organ transplantation will play a vital role in putting people to euthanasia to get their organs for transplantation. People who will not voluntarily want to die regardless of their illnesses would also be given for euthanasia to obtain their healthy organs.

Accepting euthanasia means accepting that some lives (such as elderly or people with disabilities) are worth less than others. Legalizing euthanasia would send a clear message: it is better to be dead than sick or disabled. For a healthy person, it is too easy to perceive life with a disability or an illness as a disaster, full of suffering and frustration.

Counter arguments:

People in favor of euthanasia usually say that voluntary euthanasia will not lead to involuntary euthanasia but many times there are certain cases where we can't judge things as clearly as they seem to be for instance if a patient is too old to understand and hear what a person is asking for how can he be taken as a sensible person when he is asked his consent for euthanasia .Moreover if a women going through depression is being encouraged to commit suicide and some doctor is assigned to make up her mind for it then how can we judge whether it was a voluntary euthanasia out of the ladies own will or something which she was encouraged to do y her practitioner.

The cost of poisons used for causing death by euthanasia is about $ 50 per injection, while a chemotherapy treatment costs thousands of dollars.

? There will be unlimited problems if euthanasia will be legalized in any of its form.

It is actually an issue in which if something prohibited is being legalized in one condition is taken to be legal in other cases as well over time and in the end it becomes difficult to decide that to what extent something was allowed .For instance it was done in case of abortion.

I did not find this hard to write because before writing this essay, we had a debate about this topic. I took some of the arguments that we used and I only need to expound them. I am satisfied with my outcome because I stated my stand and presented arguments to support it. I can improve this essay by discussing each arguments more and give more examples.

Because earlier it was only allowed if a mother's life was at stake but with time the law was broadened to such an extent that now abortion is being done just because people don't choose to have a child.
Only about 20% of Canada's population has access to palliative care.

Islam and Euthanasia:

In Islam it's believed that human life is sacred because it's a gift of ALLAH. One should continue to live till ALLAH wills it no matter how sufferable it becomes as it has its own worth in form of eternal reward.

Literally, euthanasia means “good death” but the controversy surrounding it is just the opposite. In active euthanasia the immediate cause of death is not the patients disease but something that is done to the patient to cause his or her death. Because, active euthanasia destroys another person’s life it is wrong and immoral to perform it. If we change the law and accept active euthanasia, we will not be able to keep it under control since, mistakes and abuses cannot be entirely eliminated. In today’s medical world knowledge is imperfect and science is constantly improving, therefore, there are cases where disease is being misdiagnosed or studies are being done for new findings of cure. Furthermore, there is a huge difference between killing people who ask for death under appropriate circumstances, and killing people without their clear knowledge of understanding because of drugs, or feeling guilty by imposing social and financial burden of care. Moreover, active euthanasia subverts the social role of the physician as a healer. For the reason being, physicians should distance themselves from euthanasia to maintain confidence in people and trust in medicine as healing profession. For this reasons medical legislation should not legalize active euthanasia.

As Quran quotes:

Do not take life, which Allah made sacred, other than in the course of justice. Qur'an 17:33

Allah decides how long each of us will live

When their time comes they cannot delay it for a single hour nor can they bring it forward by a single hour.

Qur'an 16:61

Suicide and euthanasia are explicitly forbidden in Islam

Said the Prophet: "Amongst the nations before you there was a man who got a wound and growing impatient (with its pain), he took a knife and cut his hand with it and the blood did not stop till he died. Allah said, 'My Slave hurried to bring death upon himself so I have forbidden him (to enter) Paradise.

In the first 9 years that “The Oregon Death” law was passed, 456 patients got lethal prescriptions. 292 of the 456 patients killed themselves with the medicine. That’s more than half! Those 292 patients equaled 15% of all deaths in Oregon. It just amazes me how a state can allow doctors to kill 15% of their population. Although the doctors only gave the patient the prescription and the patient did the rest, it is still the doctor’s fault because they shouldn’t have the patient the prescription.

' "Sahih Bukhari 4.56.669

Non-Religious Arguments against 'Voluntary Euthanasia':

Even those who are atheist they believe euthanasia to be against moral values of our society as it will cause further legal issues.

Few points raised by them against euthanasia are stated below:

There would be no way by which government would be able to restrict people from involuntary euthanasia if voluntary euthanasia would be once permitted.

Our society aims to reduce the suicide rate. Quebec even has an annual Suicide Prevention Week, an initiative that some would like to see replicated across Canada. It is important to note that in the U.S states that have legalized assisted suicide, the rate of non-assisted suicide has increased.

Meaning legalizing voluntary euthanasia would be like permitting involuntary euthanasia because at times it's difficult to differentiate between the two.

It will cause problems with elderly or dependent relatives and their families, by pressurizing people to die then to be a burden on their families both physically and financially.

Euthanasia should not be practiced because we all deserve to live; euthanasia is similar to murder and only God can take someone’s life. We all have the right to live. Death is not the solution to any problem. We still have chances to solve those problems while we are still alive.

Even without it being explicitly stated, legalizing euthanasia by NHS would mean that the state is offering it as an alternative to people who are seeking benefits for sickness or unemployment or to pensioners, to refugees and people with disabilities.

There are several documented cases of abuse in countries where euthanasia is legal and in countries or U.S. states where assisted suicide is legal. For example, in Belgium deaf twins were euthanized at their request because they became blind. Also in Belgium, a woman was euthanized because she was suffering from anorexia. In the Netherlands, a woman was euthanized because she was going blind and could not see the dirt. In Oregon, United States, a woman received a letter from her insurance company refusing to pay for her chemotherapy, but offering assisted suicide instead.

Euthanasia according to Kant's Ethical theory:

To Kant it's a person's duty to keep on living even if life becomes very difficult because to live a happy life is not a big deal but to live a burdened life and not to commit suicide thinking that it's a person's duty to keep on living bestowed upon him by GOD ,has a high moral worth.

So Kant is against Euthanasia as he is a deontological thinker and takes actions as right or wrong, just or unjust without looking at the consequences of those actions .So to him killing someone is a wrong act even if it is to ease his suffering.

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Euthanasia according to Mill's ethical system:

Mill being a teleological philosopher will approve of euthanasia as to him consequences are more important than the actions themselves. If something is done to ease suffering no matter how it is been achieved and it's bringing greater happiness to greater number of people it's a just and good action.

We know that euthanasia is increasing in countries that have legalized it: an increase of 18 % in the Netherlands in 2011, and another 13% increase in 2012. Moreover, according to The Lancet, 23% of cases of euthanasia are not reported. Assisted suicides are not included in the reports on euthanasia in the Netherlands, but they account for nearly 6 % more deaths. In Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal since 1997, the number of reported assisted suicides has increased by 306%, but it is impossible to know what the real number, because the system designed to collect the data is flawed.

By allowing euthanasia the one who is been suffered gets a way out of his suffering plus the state doesn't have to pay for his health costs. The family will not be burdened by the suffering individual so majority will attain happiness by allowing euthanasia so to Mill euthanasia will be a justified act which can bring happiness to greater number of people and can lessen suffering and pain as its pain over pleasure ratio gives more pleasure to everyone.
It is impossible to establish guidelines strict enough to limit euthanasia to persons for whom it is provided. In fact, the safeguards provided do not hold up in practice. According to Professor Etienne Montero, Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Namur in Belgium, it is extremely difficult to follow a strict interpretation of legal requirements once euthanasia is permitted.


In my opinion euthanasia should never be legalized .Even voluntarily allowing to die shouldn't be permitted because it will raise many issues in the society. People will do it openly for their own benefits disregarding the moral values of the society.

There is no doubt that euthanasia needs to be banned as based on the three arguments discussed above, it does not deserve a place in human society. Doctors must never give up on their patients no matter how hopeless the situation might be. They must exhaust all options to give their patients a fighting chance to survive and recover.

Human beings will be treated as mere means and all those who are a liability on their relatives or families will be put to euthanasia regardless of the fact if they want it or not .Human life will be at stake. The value and sanctity of life will lose its importance. Even if someone wishes for it they should keep their hopes in God and should keep on living as this suffering will be rewarded in the life after.
The so-called "right to die " (for the patient) implies the duty to kill (for someone else, in this case the doctor).

Moreover one never knows when a new treatment may be available to cure a terminal illness. As so many earlier untreatable diseases have a treatment these days.

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