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Euthanasia for the elderly and disabled

What are the arguments against euthanasia in relation to the elderly and disabled?

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Most of this response is from one source, which is referenced at the end.

RESPONSE:

Arguments Against Euthanasia

1. Euthanasia would not only be for people who are "terminally ill"

2. Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment

3. Euthanasia will become non-voluntary

4. Euthanasia is a rejection of the importance and value of human life

1. Euthanasia would not only be for people who are "terminally ill." There are two problems here -- the definition of "terminal" and the changes that have already taken place to extend euthanasia to those who aren't "terminally ill." There are many definitions for the word "terminal." For example, when he spoke to the National Press Club in 1992, Jack Kevorkian said that a terminal illness was "any disease that curtails life even for a day." The co-founder of the Hemlock Society often refers to "terminal old age." Some laws define "terminal" condition as one from which death will occur in a "relatively short time." Others state that "terminal" means that death is expected within six months or less.

Even where a specific life expectancy (like six months) is referred to, medical experts acknowledge that it is virtually impossible to predict the life expectancy of a particular patient. Some people diagnosed as terminally ill don't die for years, if at all, from the diagnosed condition. Increasingly, however, euthanasia activists have dropped references to terminal illness, replacing them with such phrases as "hopelessly ill," "desperately ill," "incurably ill," "hopeless condition," and "meaningless life."

An article in the journal, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, described assisted suicide guidelines for those with a hopeless condition. "Hopeless condition" was defined to include terminal illness, severe physical or psychological pain, physical or mental debilitation or deterioration, or a quality of life that is no longer acceptable to the individual. That means just about anybody who has a suicidal impulse .

In other words, in relation to the elderly and disabled, someone may well define their lives as being a "hopeless condition" out of ignorance and/or prejudices for certain minority groups.

2. Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment

"...physician-assisted suicide, if ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the arguments against euthanasia in relation to the elderly and disabled. References are provided.

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