Comment Of “Active And Passive Euthanasia”

613 words - 3 pages

“Active and Passive Euthanasia,” by James Rachels, makes a strong case over the doctrine permitting certain Euthanasia’s. This doctrine, adopted by the “House of Delegates of the American Medical Association” in 1973 (p. 302), states that, it is permissible for doctors to withhold medical treatment allowing a patient to die, but it is never permissible to take direct actions designed to kill the patient. Rachels disputes against this doctrine. Rachels’ core arguments is against the dispute that killing, in itself, is worse than letting die (p.302). Many prohibitionists believe there are important moral differences between active and passive euthanasia. But is there? While one is considered murder, the other is letting nature pan out. Rachels argument suggests this claim invalid. Recall Rachels example of two cousins in sticky situations. The author explains a circumstance in which a man, Smith, is in line for a hefty inheritance behind his 6 year old cousin. Overpowered by greed, Smith enters a restroom where the child is bathing, and drowns the child making it look like an accident (p.304). In a different version, Jones is also in line for a substantial inheritance but the 6 year old is still in his way. When headed to murder the child, luck strikes Jones, and he witnesses his cousin slip and fall hitting his head. Jones excitedly watches the six year old struggle face down until he drowns from personal injuries (p.304). Rachels argues that in neither situation would the men be able to stand up to a court of law stating that, “if the difference between killing and letting die were in itself a morally important matter, one should be able to say that Jones's behavior was less reprehensible than Smith's” (p.305) However, in this case watching the child drown is as ruthless as physically drowning the child. His argument proves that there is...

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