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Guest View: For many reasons, euthanasia should not be legalized

Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:26 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 2:20 p.m. CDT

Euthanasia. Until recently, I assumed it meant what it sounds like – the youth in Asia. I was clearly very far off. Euthanasia is the act or practice of allowing a hopelessly sick or injured patient to die, rather than using medical measures to prolong life.   

While people support euthanasia nationwide to end needless suffering, this creates a slippery slope. The more people that continue on to see euthanasia as an acceptable freedom, the more likely it will become legal for those who are not terminally ill. In effect, we would be legalizing suicide. This is not only unethical, but also goes against doctors’ Hippocratic Oath.

Euthanasia is currently legal in at least three countries: the Netherlands (since 2001), Belgium (2002) and Luxembourg (2008), according to procon.org; and at least four states allow physician-assisted suicide: Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Montana.

It is no surprise that the idea of an unnatural death seems unethical. Dr. Leon Kass says: “the deepest ethical principle restraining the physician’s power is not the autonomy or freedom of the patient; neither is it his own compassion or good intention. Rather, it is the dignity and mysterious power of human life itself ... .” 

Respecting the dignity of the human life is at the core of this argument. Those who are discounting the power of life are trying to play God and overstep their own boundaries.

Euthanasia is a direct violation of doctors’ Hippocratic Oath – a historic oath whereby health care professionals swear that, “To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death.”

That alone is enough for euthanasia to be deemed immoral, and probably illegal as well. Doctors take an oath promising that they will not give anyone their escape to death. The goal of medicine is to heal and not harm. It is the responsibility of the doctor to meet with patients and assess their needs before prescribing medication.

There are some people in the world that believe humans have the right to choose the terms of their own death. I disagree. I do not believe that anyone beside God can decide when my life will end. The time of death is predestined at the time of creation for each individual. God created every person with his or her plan in mind and a purpose of life for that individual to satisfy. By allowing euthanasia, one is allowing their life purpose to be unfulfilled.

It is a selfish task for not only the attending physician, but also the person wanting the assisted suicide. The death of a person is a chain reaction, in terms of whom it affects. Since this route to death is not natural, it will never sit well with a loved one. Let the decision lay in God’s hands to decide when we should be brought home, since He is the one who put us here.

While the legalization of euthanasia will continue to be debated, it should remain illegal, as it goes against ethical beliefs and the Hippocratic Oath. God put each person here on earth when He did, and He should be the one to decide when our time is up. Health care providers took an oath that they would not give the source to a patient that causes death.

• Julia Angelotti is a freshman at Aurora University. She is studying to be an advertising account executive. Contact her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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