Life is held dear by many, and cherished by most. Many of us can take life for granted when we are healthy and happy. In the same token; one should consider a terminally ill patient, and where such a person may fit in; when it comes to their quality of life. When dealing with unforeseen special circumstance that present themselves, could logic and reasoning be set aside. One could argue that the element of life forms a different comparison; when applied to the average healthy person. This is where the controversy begins, and morals become touchy issues for most people. Should euthanasia be an alternative to end pain, and suffering in certain circumstances; or is euthanasia a mindless, selfish means to an end. Even worse; could euthanasia be considered an act of murder?
In the first article I read “Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument Against Legislation” by John Keown. According to Keown the term euthanasia can be defined as,
“The active, intentional termination of a patient’s life by a doctor who thinks that death is a benefit to that patient. Euthanasia then is not simply a doctor doing something which he foresees will shorten the patient’s life, but doing something intending to shorten the patient’s life” (397). In his article he mentions different types of euthanasia; which include voluntary active euthanasia (VAE), non-voluntary euthanasia (NVAE), and involuntary active euthanasia IVAE). Voluntary active euthanasia can best be described as maneuvers carried out by another person to terminate life by the patient’s wishes. Non-voluntary euthanasia is reserved for instances where the person may not be able to make their own decision. This applies in cases of babies, young children, and those who do not have the mental capacity to make such a decision. Then you have involuntary active euthanasia; which can best be described as steps taken to end a competent patient’s life regardless of their choice. The Supreme Court basically states that if a sound patient wishes to end their life, and seeks counsel to do so with a physician, then it is their personal choice. On the other hand Keown considers the patients that are handicapped, not mentally sound, or incapable of taking their own life. He argues that if only PAS is legally permitted, how can the impaired patient express their right to die, and how can it be carried out. In other words; “Why should a patient who lacks the physical ability be prevented, for that reason alone, from exercising his or her right of choice” (399)
The Dutch have legalized Penal Codes claiming that killing a person at his request can bring about consequences. However the Dutch have a loop hole in the system that can be used in a situation when a physician takes the life upon the request of his/her patient. The term is called “necessity” defense. Even then guidelines have been established if a physician carries out the request. Basically a patient must be in a constant state of pain that cannot be...