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MilkyWay's avatar

Is euthanasia right or wrong in your opinion?

Asked by MilkyWay (13695points) April 17th, 2011

Definition of euthanasia : The painless killing of someone dying from a painful disease.
I need some opinions on whether you think this is okay or not. I know some religions strictly forbid it but I still wanted to know some personal views on this. Do you think it is wrong or right?
Here are some types of euthanasia and don’t worry jellies, this has nothing to do with my personal life:
Voluntary euthanasia: Ending life painlessly when someone in great pain asks for death.
Non-Voluntary euthanasia: Ending someone’s life painlessly when they are unable to ask, but you have good reason to think they would want you to do so.
Thank you.

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61 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I stand by euthanasia. I think it is every person’s right to end their life when they feel like it and those who assist them (note: not encourage or coerce them into it) should not be criminalized for it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I support people’s want to have a right to euthanasia.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Ok, so is it voluntary or non-voluntary when someone can’t consent right now, but did previously make their wishes known in a verifiable manner? And how is involuntary euthanasia still euthanasia and not murder? (Not commentary, but really asking)

KateTheGreat's avatar

I believe that euthanasia is right. No person should have to endure a lifetime of pain.

fundevogel's avatar

I support the right to die.

There is no reason for involuntary euthanasia to be controversial when it is somehow completely acceptable kill a person by taking them off life support. Face it. Killing a person a person by taking them off life support is no less killing someone than euthanasia is, except it can take a lot longer and has a greater potential to result in suffering.

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kheredia's avatar

We’re all going to die someday. If someday I have a terminal illness that is causing me great pain I should hope I am able to pull the plug on myself. What’s the point of prolonging the painful process? Euthanasia should be an option to anybody who is in need of it. I don’t get why it’s so controversial.

jaytkay's avatar

how is involuntary euthanasia still euthanasia and not murder?

If a couple were married 50 years, and one of them was incapacitated, with no ability to live off life support machines, and no ability to communicate in any way, I would trust the healthy spouse to make the decision without calling it murder.

That being said, creating an advance directive or living will while you’re healthy can save your family a tough and painful decision in the future.

rock4ever's avatar

I would never go for it personally but if someone wants to die and they’re in the right state of mind when they say so then so be it. I however believe they should have to do it themselves.

chyna's avatar

We are more kind to our animals than to humans. I am for it. I agree with @jaytkay about the living will, but it still took my mom 7 days to die. Basically, she was starved to death. That is horrible to watch.

ddude1116's avatar

I support it. Life is suffering enough without any terminal illness bringing more. If they’re dying anyway, and they’re willing or comatose, I believe it is the right thing to do. There isn’t any point in administering doses of morphine to keep the pain away, but prolong a life they cannot come back to. That isn’t any better, and just makes it harder on the families.

@chyna that’s how it was with my grandmother, I was too young to witness it firsthand but it was still painful when my dad told me later…

filmfann's avatar

I had to make the decision to take my Mom off life support.
It was an agonizing decision, and it still haunts me, but I am sure I made the right call.

GladysMensch's avatar

I watched an interesting Frontline on PBS (don’t let congress kill it BTW), regarding individuals traveling to Sweden (I believe) to have the procedure done. The doctor comes to the patients house, and gives the patient a toxic drink that puts the patient to sleep; shortly thereafter the patient dies. The entire process must be witnessed and video recorded for legal reasons. The police are called once the patient is dead. Once they arrive, they make sure everything is on the up and up, and that’s it. The process was amazingly normal and loving. The patient died listening to his favorite music while holding hands with his wife. I can’t find anything wrong with any of it.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jaytkay No, involuntary euthanasia is euthanasia performed on a patient against their will. It is contrasted with voluntary euthanasia (euthanasia performed with the patient’s consent) and non-voluntary euthanasia (where the patient is unable to give their informed consent, for example child euthanasia).

Bellatrix's avatar

Euthanasia is right. People who are suffering from terminal illnesses should be able to choose to die with dignity.

leopardgecko123's avatar

It is completely wrong. You can’t just kill a person because they’re suffering. (letting some one go when they’re on life support and mercy killing are different. And mercy killing for animals is completely different than for humans.)

jaytkay's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I see. involuntary – that looks like murder to me.

Update: I corrected this to “involuntary” from non-voluntary just as @MyNewtBoobs corrected me below.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@jaytkay Pretty sure you mean involuntary, but am trying to not assume and make an ass out of you and me.

TexasDude's avatar

I support voluntary euthanasia.

Like I’ve said before, I don’t give a damn what people voluntarily and consensually do with or to their own bodies as long as they don’t harm others non consensually.

leopardgecko123's avatar

We sin, so we suffer. We are supposed to suffer.
(This was supposed to be part of my first response.)

KatawaGrey's avatar

I am very much in favor of someone’s right to die when they are suffering from a terminal illness. As for involuntary euthanasia, this is actually something I have discussed at great length with my mother. While it may not be in her will or documented anywhere, I know that if she slips into a permanent, vegetative state, after a certain length of time, she would definitely want me to pull the plug. I think in those circumstances, involuntary euthanasia is all right. However, if you have no idea what the person would want, then I think you’re treading in dangerous waters.

Bellatrix's avatar

@KatawaGrey I think having a living will is as important as writing a will leaving your possessions. I have spoken to my children and husband about what they would like to happen in the event that they were in an accident or we had to make decisions about turning off life support and organ donation.

gailcalled's avatar

@kateTheGrey: Get it in writing, please. Otherwise, all the conversations that you and your mom have had is legally only hearsay. Having her draw up and sign a living will and healthcare proxy is easy. You can get a form online. Make sure that she signs it in front of witnesses and possibly a notary.

rooeytoo's avatar

I am 66 and I have been a mover and independent all of my life. I do not want to be incapacitated ever. I know where to obtain nembutal and would not hesitate to do so. It is my life and my right. My mate knows this and if I am unable he would do the job.

People should mind their own damned business. To me it is like abortion, if you are against it, don’t have one and if you are opposed to euthanasia, then suffer as much as you like, but don’t tell me I have to in order to satisfy your political or religious belief.

faye's avatar

@rooeytoo GA and I echo you. My belief tells me my suffering would be to teach me so I should not euthanize. So I made sure my kids know to do it for me! If I was sick with Alzheimers, Lou Gehrig’s or anything that would require care for years while my essence was gone and so really just making my kids suffer, I’d do it. Hopefully we’d have a cruise to the Greek islands first since I wouldn’t need any money left!

Nullo's avatar

I am generally opposed to what I’m going to call active euthanasia – administering lethal doses of a given substance with the express purpose of terminating life. Passive euthanasia – pulling the life-support plug for a brain-dead patient – is permissible, though not necessarily advisable.
My great step-uncle presented his family with the passive sort some decades back, after a car accident left him a permanent vegetable. They kept him on life support for a long time, until the decision changed hands. The new decision-maker told the doctors to go ahead and turn off the machines… and nothing happened. The rest of him finished dying rather recently.

lemming's avatar

I think it’s wrong. But what do I know, I’m a Christian.

jlelandg's avatar

Wrongly right, or rightly wrong. I can’t remember which.

I am mostly for the idea except for it would be really awful to get to the point of having euthanasia centers kinda like on Soylent Green (PEOPLE!!!!). Many here might argue with it, but why can’t these guys go jump off the Golden Gate Bridge like the loonies? Getting other people involved makes it kinda gray to me.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jlelandg: What about those who are too weak to “jump off a bridge” as it were?

OpryLeigh's avatar

What @Simone_De_Beauvoir and I also agree with @chyna that we are kinder to suffering animals than suffering humans at times.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

When I was about 11, I overheard Mom and Dad talking about a grandmother who was gravely ill and in the hospital. I asked, “Why don’t they put her to sleep?” It seemed like an obvious solution, as it had been done with several of our pets who were suffering with ailments in their old age.

I was going to add that The Hippocratic Oath stated, I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

According to a Wikipedia article, the Hippocratic Oath was changed in 1964, and it now reads, I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

Is this a tacit way of saying that a doctor taking this oath can conduct euthanasia on someone as long as it is in appropriate and agreed upon cases? Or does the “I must not play at God” mean that they are making a vow to not deliver euthanasia?

JilltheTooth's avatar

@jlelandg : Uh, any kind of public suicide gets “other people involved”. You know, the ones who may witness it, the ones who retrieve and identify the body, then have to notify families, etc.

Zaku's avatar

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with euthanasia.

When it’s done well and in the right circumstances, I’d say euthanasia in those cases is “right”. It can of course be done badly, which could have me say it was done badly or wrongly in those cases.

I have felt so ill and/or in so much pain, that I would not have wanted to continue to live if I were only to remain in such a condition.

seekingwolf's avatar

I have always been, and always will be, in support of euthanasia, esp voluntary. If the person is suffering and is mentally sound to make a choice on what to do with their life, who are we to stop them?

I agree with others – we are often kinder to suffering animals than suffering humans.

If you don’t agree with euthanasia, fine. Then just don’t get it done. But for others, it’s a very viable and desirable option. I would want it for myself if I were diagnosed with something like ALS.

Screw laws, I’d probably end up getting some barbiturate of my own and offing myself if I got something as terrible as ALS. Sad that I would have to go “undercover” to do it but that’s my own choice and I have the right to.

Nullo's avatar

People don’t have to commit suicide, ya know.
@KatawaGrey On a technical angle, it’s not like the bridge is the only other option. Someone with the gumption to get shot full of one would probably be able to stuff himself full of Valium.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@Nullo: I know. My point was that if someone is so sick and weak that they can’t leave their bed, how in the hell are they going to be able to kill themselves? If their pills are not in reach and they can’t get up, how will they get them? If there is a razor blade handy, how can they be sure a nurse or a loved one won’t walk in and bandage up their wrists if they attempt to cut themselves? Even if no one walks in which is highly unlikely if someone is that sick how can they be sure to actually bleed out? Killing yourself if you are that weak and incapacitated isn’t exactly easy.

Believe it or not, but I’m not actually as big of an idiot as you think I am.

Sunny2's avatar

My 90 something mother-in-law wanted so much to die. Her body was totally worn out, but her mind was relatively clear. We told her that she could stop eating and refuse anything but fluids. She decided to do that, but the next time we saw her, she had forgotten and eaten “because I guess it’s good for me.” I definitely believe person has a right to request an assisted death if the time comes.

Foolaholic's avatar

I’m all for voluntary euthanasia. Everyone has a right to their own life, and if they want it to end then who really has the authority to say no? I don’t know if there’s a system in place to enable voluntary euthanasia (like a waiver or something giving it the green light), but if there isn’t then there should be.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] This is our Question of the Day!

MilkyWay's avatar

Thank you all for your responses. One of the things I love about this site is that I can rely on getting honest and variable answers/opinions.
Chuffed about the question of the day too. Once again, Thank You Everyone.

gailcalled's avatar

@queenie: And thank you for my new word-of-the-day. I am adding “chuffed” to my armamentarium.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@leopardgecko123 In your religion, perhaps everyone is supposed to suffer. There are other people who do not believe in the inherent worth of suffering, and they should not have someone else’s religious doctrines imposed on them.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
leopardgecko123's avatar

I get what your saying, but there are some people in my religion who don’t understand. I guess it’s because they don’t listen to the teaching and aren’t as interested as I am. just thought I say thought. (Don’t know why, really)

Nullo's avatar

@Dr_Dredd It’s not so much about the inherent value of suffering as it is the inherent value of your own life.
What a great many people fail to realize is that doctrine isn’t the same thing as opinion. Doctrine is more like driving directions. Good doctrine will get you to your destination. Bad doctrine may take you through the upscale part of town, but you’ll end up in the wrong place.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Nullo The original statement from @leopardgecko123 was “We sin, we suffer. We’re supposed to suffer.” How does that relate to the inherent value of one’s own life? I honestly don’t understand.

Nullo's avatar

@Dr_Dredd No, that was me; I didn’t read @leopardgecko123‘s original post.
Round 2: What he’s referring to is that sinful behavior has its consequences, which we must weather.

seekingwolf's avatar

It doesn’t matter whether someone feels that everyone “should weather suffering”. That’s called forcing your own philosophical/religious beliefs down someone’s throat. If you don’t want assisted suicide for yourself, then fine…but you can’t speak for others. I don’t believe that’s up to the government to decide what people are “allowed” to do with their own lives based on their idea of what “should be done”.

Keep subjective moral beliefs out of the laws, please. This is such a highly personal issue that everyone will answer differently. Everyone has the right to do what they want with themselves, provided that they don’t hurt others.

It really angers me that there are people out there who believe that the laws should only reflect their own moral beliefs and everyone else should be subjected to that nonsense, willing or not.

Nullo's avatar

@seekingwolf So you don’t think that you ought to suffer the consequences of your actions? If you spit into the wind, the wind will blow it back to you.

* * *
I’ve got news for you, pal: every single law in the history of the universe is a reflection of someone’s moral beliefs. Saying that everyone has the right to do what they want with themselves is itself “forcing your own philosophical/religious beliefs down someone’s throat.” Even your assertion that we shouldn’t make beliefs into law is itself a moral judgment.

Ideally (that is, barring corruption) lawmakers make laws according to what they think is right and good. What they think is right and good is determined by religious/philosophical beliefs. Not even anarchy is exempt; all that it does is make the job of lawmaking personal, and increase the number of potential violators.

seekingwolf's avatar

Laws shouldn’t be dictated by philosophical/religious beliefs. That’s not so much a moral judgement but rather a statement of “just leave it alone and up to people”. I say that not because I feel it’s “right” but because I feel it allows for better freedom for everyone to do what THEY feel is right. Laws are there to keep order and stop people from hurting or screwing over others. This is done to keep the peace. Morals evolved out of a need for order and peace in society. Many high-and-mighty lawmakers forget this and start imposing their subjective idea of right and wrong (like banning sodomy). No one ever stops to think “Hey, how does this affect me?”

I think laws should be made not by moral beliefs but rather “Does this hurt people? Does this allow people to be screwed over?” All the rest is up to people themselves.

And no, I don’t think I should have to suffer a horrific disease “just ‘cause”. If YOU feel that it’s right to suffer, then fine, if you get a painful disease then you can go suffer all you want and be holy about it. But it’s my life, my choice, and my moral beliefs. You have no right to tell me what I should do with my life. Whether or not I choose assisted suicide has NO BEARING on you.

Think about that. Your life is unchanged regardless of what I do. I’m not hurting anyone. So why not let me make my own choices about my life? If I go to hell, fine, that’s my own choice.

People who explicitly try to dictate their moral beliefs through laws are dangerous. Sadly, there are some in government and they need to do. They are only out for their own best interests and what they feel is best for others but they don’t understand how many other viewpoints are out there. All they can see is their own. They don’t see that there are many different ways to live your life without hurting others.

Nullo's avatar

@seekingwolf There you go with the belief-shoving that you claim to abhor.

Consequences are never “just ‘cuz”. If you’re horsing around with heavy equipment, then the consequences are that you’ll very likely damage yourself/things. One of the possible consequences of bungee jumping is that the rope will break and you’ll get your head mashed into your pectoral cavity.

seekingwolf's avatar

Oh…so I’m “belief shoving” now while you claim that laws SHOULD be made up of religious/philosophical beliefs and that someone who is dying shouldn’t have the right to die in the way that they want to? Riiiight.
The difference between you and I is that you believe people should adhere to your moral beliefs in laws. I have my own moral beliefs…I don’t force them on others or believe they should be in laws. I just believe people should choose for themselves.

What is your point on consequences in relation to serious illness? Someone gets a painful disease like ALS and so they need to “suffer the consequences of the disease that they got”? What about cancer?

Tell that to a dying patient who can’t move anymore, is in adult diapers, with oozing bedsores, and is just praying for the moment that it will come to an end.

Nullo's avatar

Yes, you are championing your own viewpoint as the viewpoint that we all ought to accept. When I do that, people say that I’m “shoving [viewpoint] down [their] throats.” I fail to see why it should be any different for you.

I have made no claims about what laws should be (that’s you), but rather about what they are. You want a legal system like that so that you can do what you want to do, and not have anybody tell you otherwise.

Furthermore, I am addressing consequences in a general sense, as they result from actions, as it relates to an older post where I was attempting to elucidate for @Dr_Dredd. We are two or three times removed from the point where that was being spoken of in relationship to euthanasia. My point stands: actions have consequences, both good and bad. Since all that I succeeded in doing was confusing you, perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything.

I am opposed to euthanasia – suicide in general – because it’s not our business to decide when a person’s time is up. As finite creatures, we don’t know the future; all we know is that each life has the potential to impact other lives, and that these lives can be guided into close proximity with one another for maximum effect.
Aside from that, true suffering aplenty awaits far too many people, people who might come to accept salvation, given the time.

seekingwolf's avatar

Because YOU believe suicide is wrong and so you don’t want anyone else to commit it so YOU want the laws to reflect your moral beliefs.
My moral beliefs on suicide are irrelevant. I am championing that people should decide for themselves. That is, they act on their own moral beliefs. Mine ought to play NO part whatsoever in anyone’s lives but my own.

Yes, I would like a legal system that allows for people to live according to as they see fit without hurting others. Something wrong with that?

I can see that you’re Christian. Oh boy. Here’s my question: you’re against suicide in general, so do you believe that the laws should outlaw euthanasia in general? You say “it’s not our business” but what about the person themselves?

You clearly believe in “god” and believe that “he has the right to choose when my life ends.” You have every right to believe that and not want suicide. But why should others be forced in follow in your footsteps? Is it because YOU believe in hell and you’re forcing them to be subject to laws for what YOU feel is their best interests? What about other religions? They just all have it wrong, don’t they, and NEED to follow YOUR morals, right?

This is exactly why I am thankful for the separation between church and state. You get these religious fanatics who believe that THEIR beliefs are law and must be followed by everyone. A real “my way or the highway” attitude. Scary stuff.

As for I? I don’t impose myself upon anyone. I just say “make up your own mind” about it. If you interpret someone telling you “make your own choice about it” as “forcing their own beliefs down your throat”, then I don’t know what to tell you. Unless your religious system is one where you aren’t supposed to make your own choices…oh…wait. ><

seekingwolf's avatar

I agree that there are consequences. But I’m not interested in bungee jumping, I want to know…how does the idea of “consequences” fit in with illness? You never addresses that.

Say if someone smokes cigarettes and gets lung cancer. Should they just “suffer” the consequences? Deny them pain medication and euthanasia (if they want it) so they can “suffer’ the consequences of smoking? Oh yeah, that will show them, right?!

I’ve worked in hospice since I was 17 and I’ve seen many, many people die of cancer. I’d love to see you try to say that to people’s faces that they are “meant” to suffer the horrible death that they are having. Try to tell them that as their skin is seeping with fluid, their dignity smashed, and they are in so much pain that they can barely utter words when all the want is an end to a pain that can’t be stopped. How is it your choice when they die? And if it’s god’s choice…don’t they need to believe in god to believe that? What if they don’t believe in god? Will you still force them to follow god’s “rules”? Why can’t they just have the choice for themselves?

Seeing as you’re a Christian, I’m interested to see what you think about “consequences” in terms of bad things happening to you. I really hope you’re not one of those nutjobs who thinks that the New Orleans disaster was “justified” because god was angry about gays rubbing their naughty bits together. Would you consider that a consequence of not being a good Christian?

rooeytoo's avatar

While you all are arguing discussing whether I am allowed to kill myself or not, I am ordering my nembutal and will keep it in a safe place in case I need it (hopefully later in life).

seekingwolf's avatar


That is an excellent idea. I plan to do that myself in the future. If you see suicide as a viable option for if/when you fall very old or sick, it’s a good idea to get the drugs when you can now. Not wait until you actually need them and have some religious fanatic tell you that you’re not allowed to have a choi9ce about what to do with your own life.

I’m not sure how long barbiturates can stay on a shelf though and not degrade. Something to do research on.

gr8teful's avatar

Yes ending helping someone to end their life who requests it out of compassion if they are in pain is the kindest thing a person could do for another human being .

NanoNano's avatar


I think the legal dilemma comes from the ability of the person to give consent. In many cases where euthanasia is being considered, the person is not fully able to give consent from a sound state of mind. There have been legal cases in the US on this and you could say “the jury is still out” on a definitive view on the matter.

From a personal perspective, I think death itself is a crime.

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