Inquiry question:  Should Euthanasia be legalized?

Teacher: Ms.Stuart

First I would like to give a definition of Euthanasia by the marriam-webster dictionary: “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy”.  For this question I will be exploring the pros and cons of Euthanasia, the cases where this has taken place along with the outcome, the abuse of Euthanasia and hopefully develop a fair argument for my conclusion. 

I plan on doing 4 rounds for this project, but these are the first 3:

Round 1 will be looking at what is covered by the law.  In a couple countries around the world Euthanasia is legal, but for the most part it is definitely not.  One of the main issues is determining which individuals or illness qualifies.  By definition it is intended for the hopelessly sick or injured.  But what is the tipping point?

Round 2 will be looking at the religious aspect of this.  Many religions, for example Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism are against Euthanasia, this is not to say that all people practicing in these religions are against it, but the majority are.  I want to take a closer look at the most common religions, their view and their reasoning behind either being for or against euthanasia.  Along with how religion could conflict with ones wishes.

Round 3 will be looking at who would facilitate euthanasia.  You would assume that doctors would be the ones too, but a doctor could refuse to if they disagree with it possibly due to their religion belief.  Another point to consider is when different doctors would feel comfortable assisting someone take their life..  For example if someone has three months to live, but is in pain, apposed to someone with mental illness who is not necessarily going to die in the next couple years, but is unable to communicate and is not lucid.


Original Post

This is a good question. There is certainly a lot of debate around the topic.  Are you aware that it is legal in Canada? I think one round you could look at different countries where it is legal and look into the systems that they put in place to make sure that only people who have terminal illness and are able to make their own decision are able to have the procedure.

Hi Catherine,

That's an interesting question, and I'm sure that there are many different opinions about it. Personally, I'm not even sure what side I stand on, because it seems kind of wrong to be taking someone's life away when they could still live longer, but at the same time, the life they would live with their situation might not be worth it in their view, so it might be kinder to end it then if they wish to.

One thing you could look into if you want to is how euthanasia and suicide compare? Because they seem like they're pretty much the exact same thing, but then I though about it and realized that one of the main differences is that when someone commits suicide, it's usually to do with depression, whereas with euthanasia, it's due to a severe injury or illness. Maybe that could help with your first round of research in which you discuss what injuries/illnesses qualify (or should qualify) for euthanasia? Because I think it can be hard sometimes for families to decide whether to go forward with euthanasia or continue to live on even if they can't live life to the fullest, whereas society automatically thinks that someone considering suicide should definitely seek help instead. Like you said, I think we need to find the "tipping point", which may differ between countries and people's personal opinions.

Here's a couple of websites you may find useful:

Good luck!

Hey Catherine, 

I think you are going to find some interesting and eye-opening information in this research cycle. I especially enjoy that you are looking at how different cultures and lifestyles view euthanasia and finding different viewpoints instead of just one. I think with a topic this grave and significant, it is important and valuable to view different perspectives and mindsets.

Perhaps you could look into relationships and see who you think should be allowed to give an okay on the act of euthanasia; is it a spouse, a lover, a mother, a child, a good friend, a sibling, etc. Additionally, you could conclude how many people should agree to this, and what should happen if a majority consents but a few people do not (e.g. six people say yes to euthanasia but one does not). Moreover, if the critically-ill individual requests euthanasia but the family or a few closely-related individuals say no, should they still be able to receive it?

Good luck with your research, I am excited to see what you find

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