PHI 208 – Ethics and Moral Reasoning
Should terminally-ill humans have the right to decide when they are ready to move on and put an end to their suffering? Is active euthanasia the same as passive euthanasia?
“Self-Deliverance,” “Assisted Suicide,”– or as we better know it, Euthanasia, happens to be one of the most intensely debated subjects challenging people today. Euthanasia is the merciful act or practice of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from painful and incurable disease or incapacitating physical disorder or allowing them to die by withholding treatment or withdrawing artificial life-support measures,” (Britannica, 2016). The different types of euthanasia are active, passive, voluntary or involuntary. Active euthanasia is when a doctor takes a direct action meant to kill a patient such as, giving a lethal dose of medication that will cause death. Passive Euthanasia is the intentional withholding of treatment that could extend a patient's life, like declining a patient life support. Voluntary euthanasia is when a person asks directly to die and when a person is not competent to make their own decisions such as when in a coma, ending that person’s life would be considered involuntary euthanasia. Here in the U.S. voluntary passive euthanasia is legal, however, active euthanasia is illegal in all states except, “Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California (effective from June 2016), one county in New Mexico, and Montana,” (Euthanasia - Information & Answers, U.S. Legal Wills, 2014). In these states, the law allows a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to individuals to take themselves. This type of practice is used only as a last resort for people who are facing an imminent death. It is not meant "to kill", but it is a humane and considerate act to end an individual’s misery when there is no hope of recovery and all possible options have been completely exhausted. For its benefactors, this type of act is looked at to help the dying die with dignity. Euthanasia is considered acceptable among its supporters only if the person is an adult, in a coherent state of mind, whose terminal suffering happens to be unbearable despite the best medical efforts, and with the understanding that the person must have made a clear, well thought-out decision (Lee, 2003). Generally, individuals are either for the legalization of euthanasia under specific cases, or against any form of the procedure overall.
With through consideration, I feel that euthanasia should be legalized. Individuals that are...