Pros And Cons Of Active Euthanasia

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The field of medicine has come very far, however sometimes there comes a point where there is nothing more a doctor can do to save a patient. In that case, is it ethical for a doctor to help a patient end their life? When a doctor actively helps a patient end their live by giving them a lethal drug, it is called active euthanasia, or physician assisted suicide. There are many illnesses where people would want to request physician assisted suicide, some include; cancer, AIDS, ALS, Huntington’s disease, and other painful terminal illnesses (Lachman, 2010, p.123). Even though these diseases cause great suffering and lead to loss of autonomy, there is still a heated debate on whether physician assisted suicide should be allowed. Richard T. Hull…show more content…
501). Although active euthanasia is illegal everywhere else in the U.S, passive euthanasia is not. Passive euthanasia is when a doctor stops treatment or turns off a life saving machine so that they can die. Do not resuscitate orders also falls into this category. Not every patient has the option for passive euthanasia, which is why physician assisted suicide (PAS) is such a hot topic. The debate on whether active euthanasia should be allowed comes down to an ethical, moral, societal, and scientific argument. In this paper, I will differentiate between some key arguments facing the legalization of PA. They include: sanctity of life versus quality of life, the slippery slope argument, physician’s role and opinion, and the alternative option of palliative…show more content…
Those opposed to active euthanasia believe that suicide goes against the sanctity of life. Floris Tomasini notes that the negative view of suicide has been around since the beginning of Christian theology which views suicide as a sin (2014, p.100). For many people, this reason alone turns them off from PAS. Margaret Somerville pointed out that arguments against physician assisted suicide are not only religious, but also secular. She wrote that as humans, we strive to find meaning in our lives. By cutting our lives short (through active euthanasia), “we change the way we understand ourselves, human life, and its meaning” (2003, p. 84). In other words, allowing PAS would devalue human life. Those on the opposite side of the debate argue that sanctity of life is not what should be taken into account, but quality of life. Tomasini explains that the criteria which quality of life is dependent on is health and happiness (2014, p.102). Those who have a terminal illness are often in pain and rely on medication., Richard T. Hull argues that it is not moral to keep people living if they need to be constantly drugged to be comfortable. In addition to not having their health, most terminally ill patients do not have their happiness. Vicki Lachman cited Oregon’s Department of Human Services study on the Death with Dignity Act on the top three reasons why people would request PAS.

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