Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia are Moral and Ethical

Powerful Essays
Euthanasia is Moral and Ethical

There has been much debate in recent American society over the legality

and morality of a patients right-to-die. Current legal statue prohibits any

form of euthanasia, however, there are many moral and ethical dilemmas

concerning the controversy. For the purposes of this essay, I will define

euthanasia as the implementation of a decision that a person's life will come to

an end before it need stop. In other words, it is a life ending when it would

otherwise be prolonged. There is an important distinction between voluntary

euthanasia where the decision to terminate life coincides with the individuals

wishes and involuntary euthanasia where the individual concerned does not know

about the decision and has not approved it in advance. I will be dealing

specifically with the concept of voluntary euthanasia, for it seems intuitive

that involuntary euthanasia is not only illegal but also profoundly immoral.

Opponents arguments against euthanasia which fail to substantiate their claims,

many proponents arguments highlighted by the right to autonomy, and empirical

examples of legalized euthanasia all prove the moral legitimacy of physician-


Opponents of euthanasia generally point to three main arguments which I

will mention only for the purposes of refuting them. First, many cite the

Hippocratic oath which reads, "I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked,

nor suggest any such counsel" as a reason to oppose euthanasia. Clearly, the

Hippocratic oath does condemn the practice, however, I do not find this as

reason enough to reject the moral permissi...

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...voluntary euthanasia will somehow snowball

to involuntary euthanasia. It is also powerful proof that voluntary euthanasia

can be carried out legally and with no great harms to society or individuals.

The unsubstantiated claims of euthanasia opponents, many affirmative

arguments supporting the moral permissibility of euthanasia, and the successful

Dutch experiment with legalization all prove that euthanasia is a legitimate

moral practice. If we do not allow for individual autonomy in determining the

scope and extent of medical treatment, then we are sentencing many terminally

ill patients to a final stage of life filled with misery and wracked with

unrelenting pain. Instead, the moral and ethical course of action is to grant

patients who request euthanasia the mercy and relief of a death with dignity.
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