What is Euthanasia?
As far as death is concerned, there have been no ways in science to find a way in or out. But to be able to decide if you welcome it willingly, that is what the debate stands for. Euthanasia comes from the Greek words; ‘Eu’ meaning good and ‘thanatos’ meaning death. The term describes in Greek history, a good and gentle death.
However, with time and experiences of mankind, it came out to mean ‘the act of inducing an easy death’, usually referring to acts which terminate of shorten life painlessly only to end the suffering when there is no vision of recovery to hope for. Suspension of medical treatment, lethal injections and other medical forms of cutting out on life are the only ways out that euthanasia provides.
Spain’s new law-
On 18th of March, 2021, Spain’s parliament voted throw a law with intentions to legalise euthanasia, thus becoming one of the very few nations globally to allow gravely or terminally ill patients to terminate their lives through a retraction of medical help. This law has made Spain the fourth European country alongside the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to decriminalise assisted suicide.
This law that stood as a major priority for the Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government was drafted following intense public pressure by numerous high-profile cases in the similar concern. Although the Portugal’s parliament was known to pass a similar law in January this year, it came to be blocked by the Constitutional court.
“Today, we have become a country that is more humane, fairer and free. The euthanasia law widely demanded by the society, has finally become a reality”, Mr. Sanchez tweeted the same day.
Many other nations including South Korea, the USA and others permit euthanasia, some having measure about assisted suicide as well as ‘passive euthanasia’ that involves the halting of all life-saving medical treatment.
Conditions that fall under the Euthanasia law of nations-
As per the World Medical Association, euthanasia means-
The deliberate and intentional action with a clear intention to end another person’s life under the following conditions-
- The subject is a competent informed person with an incurable illness
- The patient voluntarily asked for ending his life
- The person who is acting knows about the state of the patient and about his wish to die, thus carrying out the action with an intention to end the life
- The action is done with compassion and without any personal profit
In the case of Spain, furthermore backed by left-wing and centrist parties, the legislation allows anyone with a “serious or incurable illness” or a “chronic or incapacitating condition” to request help dying, thereby avoiding “intolerable suffering”. However the patient must be-
- A Spanish national or a legal resident
- Must be “fully aware and conscious” when they make the request
- “request to be submitted twice in writing, 15 days apart
A form of murder?
This move by the government has been widely protested against by the Catholic Church and Spain’s right and far-right opposition. Further on, some medics have raised reasonable questions about its implementation. Debating about whether it is a form of murder, it definitely qualifies as one, given that it involves “one man causing the death of another” as per the Episcopal Conference that groups Spain’s leading Bishops.
The Ramon Sampedro case-
It was since the mid-1980s that euthanasia initiated public debates owning to the case of Ramon Sampedro who was diagnosed with tetraplegia post breaking his neck and fought an unsuccessful 30-years battle only to be able to end his own life with dignity. Sampedro died in 1998 with the help of his friend. His story has been very well portrayed in the movie The Sea Inside starring the Hollywood actor Javier Barden which won the 2005 Oscar for ‘best foreign-language movie’.
The pro-euthanasia arguments-
The fact that this debate has been going on since ever declares that there have been people who back this cause. It is only a matter of perspectives, be it religious, humane or legal, that the debate has never found a way of settlement. These arguments in the favour of euthanasia project the given view-points:
- Arguments based on the rights of an individual to decide their ways of life and death
- The argument that ‘death is a private matter’ given that there is no harm to the state and other people
- The practical argument that suggests that it is possible to regulate euthanasia
- A utilitarian or consequentialist argument that suggests that ‘Euthanasia happens anyway’
- The philosophical arguments that seek euthanasia as that which satisfies the criterion that moral rules must be universal
With any idea of virtue and implementation come a thousand problems that might or might not occur, but the fear that they might causes resistance to the ideas. Such ‘might-occur’ drawbacks of euthanasia include-
- The difficulty to deal with the people who wish to implement euthanasia for their personal gains or pressurize vulnerable patients into dying
- Human beings as independent biological entities
- The religious objects that consider euthanasia as a form of an ‘unnatural death’
- The idea that euthanasia might affect the minds of others