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Euthanasia originated from the Greek language meaning “good death.” In recent use, the meaning on euthanasia is applied to an action of inducing a gentle and easy death. There are different terms that are apart of euthanasia, including Passive, Active, Physician Assisted Suicide and Involuntary euthanasia, and depending on moral, ethical or religious terms, euthanasia can have many meanings. Passive euthanasia involves not doing something to prevent death, as when doctors refrain from using an artificial respirator to keep alive a terminally ill patient. Active euthanasia involves causing the death through a direct action, in response to the request of that person. Physician Assisted Suicide is when a physician supplies the means so that the person can easily terminate their own life. Involuntary euthanasia is used to describe the killing of a person who has not requested to die and is most often done to patients who are in a Persistent Vegetative State who is not mentally competent to make an informed request. In Western countries euthanasia is illegal apart from countries such as Belgium, The Netherlands and Columbia. With French doctors and nurse seeking for the government to legalize euthanasia, I will explore both sides to the argument, those who think it is moral and those who think it is immoral, applying the theories of ethics to specific points. I will try to outline the different ways in which this controversial issue may be perceived and the actions of those opposing theories justified.

Catholic teaching condemns euthanasia as a "crime against life". The teaching of the Catholic Church on euthanasia rests on several core principles of Catholic ethics, including the sanctity of human life, the dignity of the human person, concomitant human rights, due proportionality in casuistic remedies, the unavoidability of death, and the importance of charity. The Church's official position is the 1980 Declaration on Euthanasia issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In Catholic medical ethics official pronouncements strongly oppose active euthanasia, whether voluntary or not, while allowing dying to proceed without medical interventions that would be considered "extraordinary" or "disproportionate." The Declaration on Euthanasia states that: "When inevitable death is imminent... it is permitted in conscience to take the decision to refuse forms of treatment that would only secure an unstable and heavy continuation of life, so long as the normal care due to a sick person in similar cases is not interrupted." The Declaration concludes that doctors, beyond providing medical skill, must above all provide patients "with the comfort of boundless kindness and heartfelt charity". Although the Declaration allows people to decline courageous medical treatment when death is imminently inevitable, it plainly prohibits the hastening of death and restates Vatican II's condemnation of crimes against life 'such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or willful suicide.

In killing a person suffering, no harm is caused to anyone else so the greater good for the greatest number is in use. As Voluntary Euthanasia Society New Zealand has established, Massey University Department of Marketing surveyed 1000 New Zealanders in September 2002, asking the question: Suppose a person has a painful incurable disease. Do you think that doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life if the patient requests it? In response to this question 73% said yes, with 17% disagreeing and 10% unsure (Encarta MSN).

The conflict of euthanasia has been an ongoing debate in several countries of this world. The debate has mostly been focused on whether it is morally right to perform euthanasia. Even though whether it is right or not is a heavy debate in itself, I would like to now focus on who has the right to decide on the performance of euthanasia. Is it the doctors, family, or the patient themselves? Personally I believe that the patient should always have the final say on what happens to them. If the patient is rendered completely unable to make the decision for themselves, then and only then should the family be able to make that decision for them. There are two main types of euthanasia: passive and active. Passive euthanasia is basically the withholding of treatment to allow the patient to die. Active euthanasia is the administering of medication to assist the patient in dying. In Japan both have been practiced. In Japan, there are many different views on euthanasia in terms of who should or can decide. For euthanasia to be legally carried out in Japan there has to be a certainty of death even with medical assistance. The suffering of those close to the patient must be considered as well as the suffering of the patient. The patient has to clearly express a desire to die and the method of killing the patient must be appropriate and performed by a doctor.

Great Britain also faces plenty of controversy over the issue of euthanasia. They even established a special committee to deal with it. The House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics decided that the law should not change regarding euthanasia. They agreed that a person has a right to refuse treatment however they did not think that this warranted a person to legally fight to get help in dying. They also made it clear that the views of a patients family



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