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Controversial legal issue - Essay Example

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Student's Name & Course No.: Professor's Name: Euthanasia (Mercy Killing) 02 March 2011 Introduction Life is the most precious possession any person can have. Once a person dies, there is no more coming back, unless one believes in reincarnation. In other words, there are no more second chances because death is final…
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Controversial legal issue
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Download file to see previous pages Major religions of the world favor the continuance of life in practically most instances with a very few exceptions where the taking of life can be justified. Religious laws are quite absolute about the prohibition against taking a life, whether one's own life or that of another person. In the eyes of God, anyone who takes life commits a grave mortal sin. However, great strides and advances in medical science and technology now allow the person to prolong life by artificial methods. This technological achievement is unprecedented in the history of mankind. For the first time ever, Man can now “play God” because he has a power to extend a life whenever he wants to. Regrettably, present laws and jurisprudence has not kept up with these medical advances. The result is often confusing as there are no rules to guide us by. In the same manner, ethics (in particular, biological ethics or bio-ethics) likewise has not been able to deal with complex medical issues. Euthanasia or mercy killing is just one bio-medical issue that has hounded healthcare professionals and legal practitioners alike. The questions regarding euthanasia are many and very convoluted; there are no easy answers here. This paper re-visits and examines the issue of euthanasia from a legal perspective. Discussion There are many biological and medical issues that are not being resolved satisfactorily by the present state of our medical ethics today. Besides euthanasia, other examples that legal and medical experts alike grapple with are abortion, surrogate motherhood, organ transplants, brain death and end-of-life care (palliative medicine). The basic questions facing all ethicists can be generalized into a few categories, such as: how is life to be measured and determined (that life exists), who will judge whether a person should live or die, what constitutes proof of death and when should heroic medical intervention be withheld from a patient? The ultimate question is who has the right to live and the right to die? Even dying can be considered as one of the more basic human rights – that is, the right to die with dignity intact. Euthanasia – in plain and simple language, euthanasia means mercy killing. There are many situations in which euthanasia seems to be justified, such as when a person is suffering from an incurable and terminal disease and is very likely to suffer in great pain. Literally, the meaning of euthanasia in Greek is a “good and easy death” to relieve pain and suffering. Even the British House of Lords had deemed it appropriate to give a precise definition for it – “this is a deliberate intervention to end a life with express intention to relieve intractable suffering.” While people are still healthy, it is easy to be detached about all the debates on euthanasia but a time will come when a person has to face it and its consequences. The controversy surrounding euthanasia has been made more complicated because of the earlier practice of eugenics which is medical science applied to improving the composition of genetics in a human population (Appel, 2004, p. 611). Eugenics fell into disrepute because it was employed by the Nazis in their desire to attain a high level of purity of the Aryan races. There were several abuses committed such as forced sterilization, human experiments and the extermination of undesirable groups of people (compulsory or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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