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Euthanasia

Essay by 24  •  January 2, 2011  •  312 Words (2 Pages)  •  578 Views

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Whilst the issue of active euthanasia (or assisted suicide) raises a number of arguments, for and against, the dilemma faced by doctors, parents, the individuals themselves and lawmakers is, should active euthanasia be allowed or ever justified? To answer this, justification of good cause requires analysis in terms of the pro's and con's as well as the role that moral consideration plays in terms of how we value life, and to what extent we place emphasis on that value and at what point do we say that suffering is good for life. The notion that prolonged suffering is not good for the value of life is assumed here, as is the propensity to save life without causing further distress and pain. Given that several philosophers have offered differing points of view regarding the justification of active euthanasia, it will be argued here that active euthanasia is justified. Particular focus will be on the suffering, autonomous and rescue arguments along with responses to the killing and slippery slope arguments.

Active euthanasia occurs when premeditated action(s) take place to terminate the life of an individual; conversely, passive euthanasia is the withholding of medical treatment that is required to ensure that an individual continues to live, therefore by default, they die. James Rachels makes a point of arguing that if we are to euthanize individuals it should be the active mode as opposed to the passive mode. The American Medical Association (AMA) clearly states that mercy killing is against the modus operandi for doctors, however, where "biological death is imminent" (Rachels, p.249) passive euthanasia is permissible (and, also if the patient or family so chose to elect it). The suffering argument states that if medical treatment is withheld so that eventually the patient will die the result during the interim period is that the patient may unduly suffer extreme pain or agony. This therefore is not...

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