JEF Malta is known for its enthralling fish-bowl debates. Last week’s debate was about Euthanasia. The main point of the discussion was that of ethically applying Euthanasia to medical care. However, I feel as though the panel of speakers had deviated from the real issue at hand — and that is, how the individual’s freedom of choice should be the main priority in such a process.
Euthanasia has been termed, incorrectly, as “the process of merciful killing”. Instead, I believe, that it should be understood as relieving a person from unbearable pain. An individual on the panel claimed that legalising Euthanasia “would basically be legalising killing”. Nevertheless, someone else chimed in and stated that if Jesus Christ had suffered for our sins, we should follow in his footsteps and go on to brave out death. A notable member of the panel, namely Professor Pierre Mallia, intelligently commented that resorting to Euthanasia is a desperate measure, and only a reflection of medicine’s incapacities to relieve a person from pain. This is understandable.
The general consensus agreed that, of course, voluntarily Euthanasia should be a last resort for any human being, and not a whimsical termination of one’s life. Many of the panelists took to using examples of involuntarily euthanasia. Such instances are undeniably synonymous to abuse of a medical profession. I believe that it is a professional illegality for a doctor to take the life of a patient into his own hands without consent.
Although the concept of the debate was to discuss whether it us up to fate or faith, most of panelists took it upon themselves to use instances of malpractice to back up their arguments. I did not think that this is the correct way to introduce euthanasia to the Maltese islands. Euthanasia is not blatant murder. There should be criteria that determine as to whether or not a person would be eligible to opt for such an instance. This was also agreed and discussed upon.
Many arguments were also based on the notion that opting to end one’s life, is devaluing life itself. I, and many others, think that the situation is quite the contrary; wanting Euthanasia is an individual’s outcry to die in dignity. Many of the arguments that were put forward, were undeniably influenced by religious doctrine. I, personally do not have any problem with Christian dogma.
However, involving religious belief into a crucial and serious matter such as Euthanasia, is beyond the boundaries of good ethic. Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to bash a group of people for their faith. I am only trying to communicate that making use of Euthanasia is a personal choice. It goes hand in hand with the exercising of fundamental rights.
It shouldn’t be up to an external entity to decide whether or not one is morally justified to decide when one’s life should end. Nevertheless, the debate was perfectly mediated. It was a very good opportunity to hear different opinions on the matter. It took a good hour and a half. Although most of the panelists did not come to a general compromise, it was an exciting debate nonetheless. I would like to thank JEF Malta for taking such well-organised initiatives to discuss such hot topics.