Euthasnasia is an act carried out purposely to end an individual’s life

Euthasnasia is an act carried out purposely to end an individual’s life or to end a life where someone is suffering (BBC News, 2019). This can be performed by the individual themselves or by a healthcare professional such as a doctor (BBC News, 2019). Currently in the UK you may be procesecuted carrying out an act of euthanasia as it it against the law (NHS,2017). It can be classed as manslaughter or murder and carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (NHS, 2017). Euthanasia comes in 2 forms, active and passive (BBC Ethics, 2014). Active is when a person intentionally ends his/her life and passive is when an individual withdraws or withholds end of life medication (BBC Ethics, 2014).An arguement for euthanasia would be, that the ageing population in the UK is increasing and this has resulted in euthanasia being drawn to the publics attention (BBC News, 2000). In 1951 there were 300 people aged 100 and over in the UK (BBC News, 2000). That figure is set to be 36,000 by 2031 (BBC News, 2000). The Nuffield Trust anticipated there would be a 32% increase of elderly people with serious or mild disabilities and a 32 – 50% increase in over 65’s with chronic diseases (The Guardian, 2013). In 2016/2017 the annual cost to local authorities for social care rose to £17.5 billion (NHS Digital, 2017). In contrast to the above, physicians think that susceptible and elderly individuals will feel pressured into euthanasia as they feel a burden to relatives and carers (The Guardian, 2006). This could be viewed as a slippery slope argument as it could lead to unintentional euthanasia (BBC Ethics, 2014). However, to support this, Mr Williams a dad to 3 children was bed bound because of pain suffering from a tumour on his spine (The Guardian, 2006). Mr Williams would have chosen assisted suicide if it was accessible in the UK due to the emotional pain in which his spouse experienced looking after him (The Guardian, 2006). After palliative care, his pain was made more manageable and his cancer went into remission (The Guardian, 2006). His spouse later passed away unexpectedly of liver cancer and had he chosen euthanasia his children would have been without both parents (The Guardian, 2006). A practical argument against euthanasia would be that it undermines the commitment and care that physicians and nurses give, new cures and treatment for terminally ill people could be discouraged (BBC Ethics, 2014). In most instances palliative care can relieve pain (Culture Watch, 2010). A doctor in Western Australia said “there are very few symptoms indeed that which cannot be controlled through the application of good palliative care” (Culture Watch, 2010). Another argument for euthanasia would be that just over 7 percent of suicides between 2009-2014 involved terminally ill people (The Telegraph, 2014). This was revealed by the Freedom Of Information Act and the campaign group Dignity in Dying, which conducted the studies and stated that these numbers reinforced the case for legal assisted suicide in the UK (The Telegraph, 2014). The Truth About Suicide researched that a minimum of 10% of suicides in the UK are connected to either the terminally ill or persistantly ill (The Guardian, 2011). Patients with cancer are 5 times more likely to commit suicide (The Independent, 2018). 52 suicides were caused by urological cancers per 100,000 individuals (The Independent, 2018).Cuurently, however, suicide is legal in the UK and has been since 1961 (The Telegraph, 2015). If assisted suicide is legalized in the UK the of rate of suicide may rise (The Telegraph, 2015). People who support assisted dying but not suicide should question themselves why they do not tolerate other suicides when surely it is the same, an individuals life is ending (The Telegraph, 2015). In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal and placed it into the UK it would account to around 2000 deaths annually (Kingsfund, 2016). Oregon’s numbers however are increasing and that could also happen in the UK too (Kingsfund, 2016). A further argument that supports euthanasia is that individuals have a right to live with dignity so therefore why not die with dignity (Niekerk, 2016). Being in pain, suffering from a terminal illness takes away the dignity of individuals (Niekerk, 2016). People are explicitly entitled to die and should not be the decision of the government (Future of Working, 2019). This can be helped by incorporating death with dignity laws to make this possible (Future of Working, 2019). Some medical conditions are sometimes unnecessarily prolonged meaning that palliative care may not work to it’s best means (Niekerk, 2016). Those in favour of euthansia believe that denial of being able to die through choice is going against the Human Rights Act 1998 (Politics, 2019). This is due to the ‘right of respect for family and private life’ and ‘freedom of thought’ being denied (Legislation.gov.uk, n.d).In contrast to the above religious views believe that life is a gift from God and should not be taken away intentionally (BBC, 2009). Those not in favour of euthanasia believe that human dignity should not be considered by adaptability or success (BBC, 2009). Birth and death is a natural process given by God and should not be interfered with (BBC, 2009). Ethically euthanasia could weaken society’s respect to human existence and think that certain individuals lives are not as valued as others (BBC Ethics, 2014).There is evidence to support that euthanasia may weaken the respect for life by society (BBC Ethics, 2014). There are religious views against euthanasia that believe death is part of life and should not be intervened with (BBC, 2009). Legalising euthanasia may not decrease suicide rates as where it is currently legal in some countries, suicide is on the rise (KingsFund, 2016). As carers and family life become more pressured, the ageing population may feel more susceptible than ever to end their lives (The Guardian, 2006). Lord Walton claims that the elderly, lonely or sick would feel pressured into euthanasia or assisted dying, this is known as the ‘slippery slope’ argument (BBC Ethics, 2014). There is evidence that social care for local authorities rose to £17.5 billion in 2016/17, legalising euthanasia and assisted death could cut the cost of this (NHS Digital, 2017). People want to have the freedom to choose what they want in life and die with dignity and not what the government decides (Future Of Working, 2009).

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