The word Euthanasia is Greek in origin, signifying “good death”. The objective of Euthanasia is to end life in order to relieve unbearable suffering. Voluntary euthanasia bears a strong resemblance to suicide and involves the person deciding to put an end to his or her own life, to end suffering. Involuntary euthanasia happens without the consent of the patient; an individual makes the decision for another person incapable of doing so.
Both voluntary and involuntary euthanasia can be conducted actively or passively. Passive euthanasia involves the withholding of treatments such as antibiotics, or life preserving medical technology like artificial respiration and blood circulation given to patients who are brain-dead in an effort to keep them physically alive. Active euthanasia on the other hand involves the use of lethal substances to end life. Believers in euthanasia believe that everyone when faced with terminal illness has the right to die at a time of their own choosing, in a manner of their own choosing, rather than suffering through to the bitter end. Those against it believe that it is equivalent to suicide or murder.
Euthanasia is an answer to the prayer of someone who is terminally ill and in extreme pain. There comes a time when even morphine does not help. When one is aware that death is impending, it seems pointless to subject oneself to unbearable pain. It provides relief when a person’s quality of life is low, but above all it gives you the freedom of choice. Some might prefer death with-dignity as opposed to a long drawn illness where one becomes increasingly dependent on others. Those not in favor of euthanasia believe that it devalues human life and if we didn’t choose to be born what gives us the right to choose when to die? Laws against euthanasia are in place to prevent abuse and to protect people from unscrupulous doctors and others.
While death on demand has yet to be legalized in many countries, the cost containment it provides might well be the reason for it to get legalized sooner. Whatever the reason, euthanasia does provide an individual with the freedom to end his life on his terms and should only be restricted to those who are terminally ill.