Euthanasia

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Euthanasia is an action that result in the death of a person. There are four types of euthanasia, such as voluntary active euthanasia, nonvoluntary active euthanasia, voluntary passive euthanasia, and nonvoluntary passive euthanasia. Among the four types of euthanasia, voluntary active euthanasia or VAE is the most controversial ethical issue in the United States. It is the killing of a competent patient who decided to end his/her suffering by ending his/her life with the help of the physician. VAE is illegal in the Unites States; however, it is morally just. Voluntary active euthanasia is legitimately moral on the basis of Immanuel Kant’s human dignity, the utilitarian’s Greatest Happiness Principle, and James Rachel’s view of active euthanasia.

According to Immanuel Kant, a person has dignity that makes him autonomous. Thus, the decision of the autonomous patient to die has intrinsic value. Because patients are rational agent, they are able to make their own decision based on reason. A rational patient will reason that if continued existence is full of suffering and no-hope for better well-being, therefore, the best option is to discontinue his/her life to save him/herself from that future condition. It is the patient’s approach to manage his/her own life. Dan W. Brock is right in his article “Voluntary Active Euthanasia” when he said that, “self-determination [or autonomy] has fundamental value… [because]… individual [can] control the manner, circumstances, and timing of their dying and death” (75). The dignity of the patient lies in their “capacity to direct their lives” (Brock 75).

According to Stephen G. Potts, a patient might seek euthanasia for the benefits of other people (79). In his argument against VAE, the p...

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The voluntary active euthanasia is legitimately moral. It is morally right for a person to seek euthanasia because it is their freedom or autonomy to control their own lives. It ends the suffering of the patient without harming other people. Furthermore, it prevents the person to suffer by giving him/her lethal injection or medication that prevents a person to die slowly with pain. On the other hand, the arguments against euthanasia are not sound. A thorough assessment will protect patient who request euthanasia for the benefits of others. A patient who seek for euthanasia does not use him/herself as means, but as ends to respect his/her own humanity. Furthermore, God as a benevolent will not allow a person to suffer which endorse the purpose of euthanasia – to end suffering. Therefore, voluntary active euthanasia should be legalized in the United States.

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