Back Ön itt van: English Articles To kill and let die

To kill and let die

translated by: Daniel Prinz

Our culture on the northwestern part of the Earth is a rather strange one. We value human life, although we disagree on the issue of what human life exactly is. Life is a process, without black and white borderlines defined by nature. Even the beginning and the end, betwixt and between – constantly widened by technology. Thus we make laws, arbitrarily defining the beginning of life: for some reason the 46 chromosomes within the cell are human, the same twice 23 a spare second earlier in two cells are not. When reaching the age of 18, one is considered an adult – whether she likes it or not. Our ancestors thought that someone, whose heart or respiration stopped working is dead. Today, we routinely bring people back from this state, and associate death with the termination of brain functions. Hence, it is crucial that with the evolution of our conception of life and the broadening of our knowledge we discuss our rights regarding our choice of life and death.

Fortunately, most of us never come into direct contact with abortion or the death penalty, however, the death of others is easier to talk about than our own evanescence. The lack acceptable solutions to the legal issues concerning our own death is understandable, but disappointing, as these are the most universal, pressing and personal problems, that tie all of us. The final stage of life, passing is the source of numerous legal and ethical controversies. Is a regulation, acceptable to individuals and the society, morality and reason conceivable?

We declared: everyone has a right to life, to life with dignity and also to self-determination. However, nature is not interested in great human ideals, and it often presents us with difficult choices. Whose right and obligation is it to choose?
Society aims to protect its own integrity by protecting life, if necessary, against the will of the individual. The individual, on the other hand, is trying to use his right to dignity during one of the most important periods of his life – its end. The contradiction is clear, but we can attempt to resolve it from multiple aspects.

Some regard the right to life as a consequence of life being a supernatural gift. Therefore, life is not only a right but an obligation, and the individual cannot refuse to live it. From a legal perspective, this creates a clear situation, an it would be difficult to argue with it from an ethical perspective, it is rather an issue of tastes.

According to others, the subjective quality of life is more important than its duration, thus the rights to dignity and self-determination can overwrite the duty of society to protect life. This brings us to euthanasia.

This approach is very challenging for forces of regulation. How do we decide when and in what circumstances we accept this radical form of self-determination over the claims of society?
It is important to distinguish between passive and active euthanasia. The former means not doing anything to prolong life, the latter its active destruction. If we choose the latter one, who do we assign to carry it out? Do we put the responsibility on doctors, or just as we have midwives for birth, we can have a new profession for people to help us die?
Who can make the ultimate decision? Do we allow voluntary euthanasia only, or the appointment of someone to make the decision as well?

Emberi Jogok Egyetemes Nyilatkozata

Emberi Jogok Egyetemes Nyilatkozata

Elfogadva és kihirdetve az ENSZ Közgyűlésének 217 A (III) határozata alapján, 1948. december 10-én.

A 30 pontból álló Nyilatkozat az élet minden területét felölelő jogokról és szabadságjogokról szól. Elolvashatjátok és megismerhetitek oldalunkon.


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