Essay about Analysing the Morality of Voluntary Active Euthanasia

Essay about Analysing the Morality of Voluntary Active Euthanasia

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In this essay I will be analysing the morality of voluntary active euthanasia (VAE). I will focus on the argument that if such an act is considered morally acceptable, it can only lead down a slippery slope in which society becomes grossly unrecognizable in terms of the value of life. This essay will examine the strengths and weaknesses of this argument and the moral principles which underpin it to determine whether or not it remains a convincing argument to VAE.

Firstly, I must ascertain what segregates VAE from other forms of euthanasia and introduce the argument to it. The cause for VAE is usually derived from a terminally ill patient considered to be of sound mind wishing to end their suffering. Doctors, or other people close to the patient, perform the act in direct response to the patient’s request. It differs from passive forms as it is usually through lethal injection or other means independent of the cause of a person’s terminal state. The slippery slope argument proposes the idea that once VAE is considered moral, it can lead to the killing of not only those who give consent, but those who don’t. It suggests that the sanctity of life is no longer respected by society as a consequence.

Societal views against killing are often weakened whereupon it is justified as euthanasia as this appears a different issue compared with other forms such as murder. Yet opponents to euthanasia still maintain that a killing remains the deliberate ending of a life. VAE is considered no different, despite the fact that the patient is terminally ill and will almost surely die anyway; many believe that miracle cures still remain a possibility. As soon as the life is terminated, this possibility is removed and any remnants of optimism and hop...


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...life will eventually be devalued as VAE leads society down a slippery slope. I believe therefore, that the validity of the slippery slope argument is confirmed in the sense that sufficient evidence is lacking to provide voluntary active euthanasia an escape from it.



Works Cited

Beauchamp, T. 1999, ‘The Beginning and End of Life’ in Contemporary Issues in Bioethics, eds Walters, L. & Beauchamp, T., Wadsworth, Belmont CA, pp. 94-98.

Berk, LE 1998, ‘Death, Dying and Bereavement’ in Development Through the Lifespan, 3rd edn, Pearson Education Inc., Boston, MA, pp. 636 & 637.

Gay-Williams, J. 1992, ‘The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia’ in Intervention and Reflection: Basic Issues in Medical Ethics, ed Munson, R., Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.

United Nations 2014, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Available from:
. [April 2014]

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