Why has euthanasia become one of the most often discussed ethical problems?

The problem of euthanasia – the act of killing someone painlessly, especially someone who is suffering from an incurable illness – is being discussed all over the world and it creates a lot of emotion everywhere. There are countries, such as Holland and Belgium, where euthanasia has been made legal, but even there a lot of people are against this act of „merciful killing”.

The supporters of euthanasia claim that only patients can determine when suffering makes their life worse than death. Terminally ill patients are being kept alive against their will and they should be given the right to decide about his or her life and death, especially if they are in agony or feel chronic pain. It is said that euthanasia is the only chance for terminally ill patients to relieve suffering. Moreover, living in a permanent vegetative state deprives people of dignity.

Nevertheless, we can find more arguments against euthanasia. First of all, there are strong religious objections. All religions absolutely prohibit all forms of killing. Carrying out euthanasia is like playing God because such decisions belong only to the Creator. It also means a lack of respect for human life.

Some people claim that if euthanasia were allowed, doctors might press people into it to reduce medical costs. Some patients happen to be in a coma for years but until there is any chance for them to wake up nobody should switch off a life support machine. Many families of elderly patients might insist on performing euthanasia for various reasons.

Another important argument against mercy-killing is the fact that modern medicine is progressing, so we can never be sure that there is no chance of recovery. Besides, people suffering from serious emotional problems such as depression, which sometimes can be successfully treated with medicines, sometimes believe that euthanasia is the only solution.

Some people identify euthanasia with killing whereas for others it an act of mercy. It always depends on people’s ideology and beliefs so a compromise is impossible and fierce discussions will continue.


Przykładowe pytanie, jakie może zadać egzaminator

What other problems raise as much controversy as euthanasia?

In my opinion, all problems which are connected with human life arouse strong emotions and provoke fierce discussions. Such ethical problems as abortion, death penalty, euthanasia or genetic engineering have their supporters and opponents who can never reach an agreement. Their opinions depend on their religion, outlook on life, education and even their upbringing.
Other problems which are often discussed are the legalisation of drugs, the issues of transplants, sects or animal rights. However, they are not as controversial as the previously discussed ones.