In this dissertation I aim to answer the question ‘ should euthanasia should be legalised in the U.
K?’, because the current legislation states that it is illegal to perform euthanasia and I chose this title because euthanasia is the mercy killing of an individual to relieve them of their suffering. I am intrigued by euthanasia because it is a controversial topic and having studied the topic in Religious Studies for GCSE and expanding my knowledge on euthanasia in A Level Theology I have found the topic to be an ethical matter which fabricates a divide between religious groups and members of society who accept euthanasia as part of the norm .Also, my curiosity about euthanasia is a primary reason why I chose this topic and title because it is an ethical issue and has been the core of heated debates for centuries as it is surrounded by religious, ethical and practical considerations as some people believe euthanasia should be legalised and others believe that it should be illegal as it is immoral. In the U.K it is illegal to conduct euthanasia, however the law does agree with passive euthanasia whereby treatment would be withdrawn from a patient although for this to happen the patient must provide a strong and valid reason as to why they want passive euthanasia. According to the law this is not classified as murder, hence ensuring the patient has a peaceful death when they are ill is the main priority. However, some argue that patients should be allowed to choose the time of their death and when and how they want to die.This dissertation will mainly focus on the three main aspects of euthanasia which is Law, History and Religion as they have a significant impact on euthanasia and these areas are highly significant as they fabricate controversial issues in regards to euthanasia as some religions are strongly against euthanasia however legislation in other countries like the Netherlands permit euthanasia and in the past the idea of permitting euthanasia has become acceptable in society during different periods like the enlightenment period.
I will examine and analyse the influences the three main aspects have on euthanasia by using a wide range of sources that ranges from books to websites and carefully and analytically pick out vital information and take into accounts both sides of euthanasia, those who oppose and support euthanasia in society which includes doctors, religious people and governments and ultimately come to a conclusion whether or not euthanasia should be legalised in the U.K.Having an interest in law led me to discover how countries like Belgium and Netherlands and certain states in America like Oregon have permitted euthanasia. The Oregon Department of Human Services wrote “On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act which allows terminally-ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.” However in the northern territory of Australia made euthanasia legal although this bill was reversed in parliament in 1997. Whereas, in the U.
K euthanasia has always been illegal however they are gaps within this bill as doctors are allowed to withhold medicine and food upon the patient’s request which shortens the patient’s life, people believe this is a form of euthanasia.I was also interested in the religious aspects of euthanasia as most religions like the Roman Catholic Church and Islam forbid euthanasia because of the belief that life is sacred and that conducting euthanasia is immoral on any ground. However, religions who disagree with euthanasia like the Roman Catholic Church believe in palliative care as an alternative to euthanasia because palliative care kills the pain not the personAlso the history of euthanasia also sparked my interests because the Hippocratic Oath made by Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC) states “I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked” , therefore euthanasia is impermissible from 2000 years ago. Over the past centuries, society’s attitudes towards euthanasia has changed for example during the enlightenment period in the french revolution as enlightenment thinkers started to question the view the Church had on euthanasia which gradually led to euthanasia becoming more accepting in society and the perspective that the church had constructed on euthanasia which has been forced onto society was gradually dissipating.
Primarily, I chose this title and topic because I have chosen to do euthanasia because it is a moral, ethical and political issue in today’s society which has been a contentious matter which originates from centuries ago hence I believe it is a good and significant topic to do extensive research and formally educate myself on a highly significant issue. Ultimately at the end of the project I will come to a courteous conclusion by considering both sides of the discussion and decided whether or not euthanasia should be legalised in the U.K.