Future Voices: Why I care about the euthanasia debate

New Zealand prime minister John Key has given his views on euthanasia.

New Zealand prime minister John Key has given his views on euthanasia. - Credit: AP

Though a rather controversial issue, why might euthanasia have such an impact on young people?

Also at this age, our future is always on our mind. No one knows what their future holds but surely it's vital we do all we can to secure it is the way we want it to be?

Euthanasia, while being illegal in the UK, is an issue which is thought about by people in extreme circumstances. Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal under UK law.

Despite this, it can be argued that euthanasia should be legal due to human dignity and quality of life. I guess why prolong a life when causing unbelievable amounts of pain and suffering? With the assistance of a doctor and working within strict rules, terminally ill and extremely sick people should have the right to end their own life.

While conversely, the issue of regulation comes into the picture. How do we know the person involved isn't being pressured by family members? When is pain too much to handle and how do we know it is?

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Additionally many believe life is a precious gift and therefore should be preserved. Some cases leave people to argue how can you be sure someone's life is going to end? An example is Karen Ann Quinlan fell into a coma in April 1975. After she was placed in a respirator and feeding tube for a year, her family were granted permission, from the New Jersey Supreme Court, to turn off her machine in 1976. Amazingly she lived until 1985 where she died of pneumonia. Cases such as these pose the question as to if euthanasia is legal how can we be 100% sure they have no chance of recovery.

Euthanasia remains a topic which is constantly argued but as said by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, 'If I had terminal cancer, I had a few weeks to live, I was in tremendous amount of pain - if they just effectively wanted to turn off the switch and legalise that by legalising euthanasia, I'd want that.'

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Esther Oyewole, 15, Wymondham College

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