Why Euthanasia Should not Be Legal: Ethical and Practical Reasons

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2 pages /

694 words

Downloads: 38

2 pages /

694 words

Downloads: 38

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Ethical Concerns and Sanctity of Life
  3. Euthanasia as Assisted Suicide
  4. Practical Considerations and Unintended Consequences
  5. Conclusion


Euthanasia, the act of intentionally ending a person's life to relieve suffering, has been a topic of intense ethical and practical debate. While proponents argue for its legalization as a compassionate end-of-life option, this essay will delve into the ethical concerns surrounding euthanasia and how it can be viewed as a violation of the sanctity of life. It will also explore the notion of euthanasia as a form of assisted suicide and its potential for misuse, followed by an analysis of the practical considerations and unintended consequences associated with its legalization, including the erosion of the value of life and the difficulty in ensuring its judicious application.

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Ethical Concerns and Sanctity of Life

One of the fundamental ethical concerns regarding euthanasia revolves around the sanctity of life. The sanctity of life principle asserts that all human life is inherently valuable and should be preserved and protected. Euthanasia, by intentionally ending a life, appears to contradict this principle, as it involves the deliberate taking of life rather than its preservation.

Opponents of euthanasia argue that it fundamentally undermines the intrinsic worth of every human being. They believe that allowing euthanasia to become legal sends a message that certain lives are expendable, particularly those who are deemed to be suffering or living with debilitating conditions. This perspective holds that society should instead prioritize providing comprehensive palliative care and support to alleviate suffering while upholding the sanctity of life.

Euthanasia as Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia shares similarities with assisted suicide, wherein a person who is suffering from a terminal illness or unbearable pain seeks assistance from a medical professional or another individual to end their life voluntarily. While proponents of euthanasia argue that it is distinct from assisted suicide due to the involvement of a healthcare provider, opponents contend that the ethical boundaries between the two can be blurry.

One concern is the potential for coercion or abuse in situations where vulnerable individuals may feel pressured to choose euthanasia. It raises questions about whether individuals with limited capacity to make informed decisions, such as those suffering from severe depression or cognitive impairment, could be unduly influenced or persuaded to end their lives prematurely. Critics argue that the line between voluntary euthanasia and involuntary euthanasia can be thin, making it challenging to ensure that the practice is only applied in cases where it is genuinely the patient's autonomous choice.

Practical Considerations and Unintended Consequences

Legalizing euthanasia raises a multitude of practical considerations and potential unintended consequences. One of the most significant concerns is the slippery slope argument, which posits that once euthanasia is legalized, it may be expanded to include categories of individuals beyond those initially intended. For instance, it could progress from being limited to terminally ill adults to include minors or individuals with non-terminal conditions.

Additionally, there is the risk that legalizing euthanasia may contribute to a devaluation of life in society. When euthanasia becomes an accepted practice, it may inadvertently send a message that some lives are not worth living, especially those marked by pain, disability, or dependence on others. This can have far-reaching implications for how society perceives and treats vulnerable populations, potentially leading to increased neglect or inadequate care.

Furthermore, the practical challenges of implementing safeguards to ensure the judicious application of euthanasia cannot be overlooked. Maintaining strict criteria and oversight to prevent abuse and misuse of euthanasia can be exceedingly complex. The Netherlands, for example, where euthanasia is legal, has experienced instances of euthanasia being performed on patients without explicit consent, highlighting the difficulty in regulating the practice effectively.


Euthanasia remains a divisive and contentious issue, with ethical concerns regarding the sanctity of life and the potential for misuse at the forefront of the debate. While proponents argue that it offers a compassionate option for those suffering at the end of life, opponents contend that it challenges the core principle of valuing and preserving human life.

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Furthermore, the practical considerations of legalizing euthanasia, including the risk of a slippery slope and the challenge of ensuring stringent safeguards, demand careful scrutiny. Ultimately, the question of euthanasia's legalization is complex, requiring a nuanced exploration of the ethical and practical dimensions while keeping the sanctity of life and the well-being of all individuals at the forefront of the discussion.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Oliver Johnson

Cite this Essay

Why Euthanasia Should Not Be Legal: Ethical and Practical Reasons. (2023, September 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 3, 2023, from
“Why Euthanasia Should Not Be Legal: Ethical and Practical Reasons.” GradesFixer, 07 Sept. 2023,
Why Euthanasia Should Not Be Legal: Ethical and Practical Reasons. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Oct. 2023].
Why Euthanasia Should Not Be Legal: Ethical and Practical Reasons [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2023 Sept 07 [cited 2023 Oct 3]. Available from:
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