What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Euthanasia?

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Those who believe that euthanasia, or assisted suicide, should be legal often argue that a person who is terminally ill has the right to bypass severe pain in favor of a dignified and timely death. They believe that banning euthanasia causes terminally ill patients to suffer needlessly. Many who are against euthanasia cite the disadvantage that legalizing this practice may lead to involuntary euthanasia, given that health care costs are so high and there are a lot of gray areas regarding consent.

Another commonly cited advantage of euthanasia is that when patients are not allowed the option of assisted suicide, they may commit suicide themselves in horrifying and traumatic ways. Euthanasia allows terminally ill patients to die peacefully and surrounded by their loved ones. Those who are against euthanasia feel that all suicide is wrong, regardless of the circumstances, and thus a disadvantage of legalizing this practice would be an increase in suicide rates.

Many who are against euthanasia also argue that it is morally wrong and against their religion. However, those on the other side feel that to prohibit assisted suicide for religious reasons is against the policy of freedom of religion. Other advantages include a reduction in health care costs, more freed up time for doctors and ability to use vital organs after death. Other disadvantages include the impossibility of miraculous recoveries and the possibility of insurance companies placing pressure on doctors to recommend euthanasia.