Is Euthanasia Morally and Philosophically Justifiable? Essays

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When considering whether the piece of legislation titled “The Death with Dignity Act” is morally and philosophically justifiable, the moral and philosophic viability of what is referred to as active voluntary euthanasia must first be evaluated. Because active voluntary euthanasia seeks to reduce the amount of suffering of the patients as well as offer individuals greater control over their life it can be justified, and the “Death with Dignity Act” outlines a responsible method for enacting active voluntary euthanasia.
One of the most contentious issues when considering active voluntary euthanasia is the first part of the term—active. According to opponents of active voluntary euthanasia it is morally worse to actively cause the death of an individual as opposed to simply letting die naturally by withholding treatment. This is a belief held by the American Medical Association as they only support “the cessation of the employment of extraordinary measures to prolong the life of the body when there is irrefutable evidence that biological death is imminent.”1 However, in the instances where a decision does need to be made between active and inactive voluntary euthanasia there is no moral difference. Imagine there is a cancer patient who is beyond any reasonable hope to survive, and is currently experiencing unbearable pain. It would not come as a huge shock if this person told a doctor that he wished to die. According to the American Medical Association the only acceptable way this individual can pass is by the cessation of extraordinary treatments to cure the individual while essentially waiting for them to die. The issue with this decision is that it's intent and result is exactly the same as if this individual were given a presc...

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...not negatively interfere with the ability of others to live their lives freely as well. However, in the instances where a severely ill person is unable to carry out such an act upon themselves due to a devastating terminal illness they should have the right to ask a doctor to prescribe a medication that will end the patient's life. In order that the request not infringe on the freedoms of the doctor he or she may also reserve the right to refuse this request, and in turn recommend the patient to another doctor. This second part is key because while the doctor should have the right to refuse this medication he or she can impede the ability of an individual to fulfill their desires, and thus has a responsibility to make sure he or she is not preventing the patient from being able to carry out their desires even if the initial doctor is not the one carrying out the act.

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