About Euthanasia

Barriers to Acceptance

There are several barriers to the acceptance of euthanasia. Negative reaction by the public, to particular words and phrases used by euthanasia and assisted suicide advocates, has led activists to use words that have a gentler image; lack of support from medical associations; fears that doctors would abuse the law and concerns about safeguards all contribute to a general lack of acceptance.

Terminal Illness

While many people think assisted suicide should be an option for those who have a terminal illness, there is disagreement about the definition of 'terminal'. Right-to-die activists oppose using terminal illness as one of the criteria in physician assisted suicide legislation, as that would exclude those whose death is not imminent. They would prefer legislation to contain terms such as "incurably ill" or "the condition is irremediable by medical treatment and the suffering is intolerable to the patient.”

Euthanasia by Stealth - Nevada style

Despite being illegal, laws prohibiting euthanasia and assisted-suicide have been circumvented in Nevada in the USA. Euthanasia is now a reality, simply because the Nevada Medical School is teaching it, and the State Board of Medical Examiners is giving credit for post-graduate education (PGE) in 'ethics' to physicians who have taken a one-hour course. If the patient is the one who initiates the request, the method is called 'patient refusal of hydration and nutrition'.More common is 'surrogate refusal of hydration and nutrition' where the doctor accepts the authority of a spouse, son/daughter or relative, enabling that person to authorise the dehydration and starvation of the patient.

Mental Illness

The majority of people who commit (or attempt) suicide have mental health problems. The mentally ill who usually want to die are suffering from treatable depression. One proposed safeguard in proposed legislation requires that candidates for assisted suicide are supposed to be competent to make an informed and voluntary decision. If assisted suicide becomes available for non-terminally ill, there are concerns that people suffering from a mental illness will be given death instead of treatment.

Unbearable Pain

No-one wants to have a loved one spend their last days in unbearable pain, the very idea horrifies us. The issue of unbearable pain and suffering has been used as a reason why euthanasia and/or assisted suicide should be legalised. Doctors experienced in pain management and palliative care dispute this perception.

Euthanasia and Women

Women have been fighting against discrimination in their medical treatment in almost every area of health. Statistical evidence shows that while more men than women commit suicide, women unsuccessfully attempt suicide at a much higher rate than men. There are fears that women will use assisted suicide as a means to kill themselves, rather than accept help.