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Euthanasia - Essay Example

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The American Medical Association embraces the belief that active euthanasia is not acceptable due to the involvement of the intentional ending of a patient’s life by another human being. Many current thinkers have argued for and against this view discussing the moral acceptability of such an action, and some of the most notable arguments come from James Rachels. Rachels states that a strong case can be made against the American Medical Association’s doctrine. His main point is that passive euthanasia is not always preferable to active euthanasia: he states that, in some cases, there is simply no moral disparity linking active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. This is because they both are morally equivalent concerning the ultimate goal; however, it is factual that active euthanasia may be fair compared to passive euthanasia. He says that once the choice has been made not to prolong the patient’s agony, active euthanasia would be preferable because the latter would lead to an unnecessary period of suffering (Dixon 25). His most brilliant example is the instance of the babies with a severe Down’s syndrome who were given birth with obstructions in the intestines. He states that sometimes in such cases the babies are allowed to die even if these matters were considered deeply; thus, we would find compelling moral grounds for preferring active euthanasia to passive euthanasia in the vastly greater degree of suffering involved in letting the baby die. Rachels challenge the doctrine that passive euthanasia is preferable to active euthanasia; he declares that it leads to decisions concerning life and death based on irrelevant grounds as to whether a person’s life should continue or not. He argues that ordinarily an intestinal obstruction can be fixed and is not a life or death matter; but in the case of a baby with Down’s syndrome with an intestinal obstruction, he or she should be allowed to die because of Down syndrome and not the intestinal obstruction. The presence of the intestinal obstruction in the baby becomes irrelevant due to its having Down’s syndrome, and this is the argument which justifies allowing the prolonged suffering of the baby before it dies instead of fixing the intestinal obstruction which would relieve it of the pain. This justifies Rachels’ argument against the American Medical Association’s doctrine that this doctrine rests on a distinction between killing and letting die that itself has no moral importance because they both lead to the same end and the means of getting there is inconsequential (Javier 262). Jake objects to Rachels’ argument and justifies his stance stating that active euthanasia is based on a person’s decision of killing a patient intentionally, and this is meant to bring to the end the patient’s suffering. This is hugely different from passive euthanasia, as in this case a patient is left to die in his or her own time and not given any substance that will make them die. According to Jake, therefore, it would be true to say that there is a clear difference between active and passive euthanasia, and that this difference is based on the morality of the two actions. While passive euthanasia can be considered morally right, active euthanasia ...Show more


Name: October 19th 2012 Euthanasia Euthanasia can be defined as the bringing about the death of a being for humane reasons, or as the killing of a person with the intent of ending his or her suffering. There are two main types of euthanasia: passive euthanasia, which is legal in the United States, and active euthanasia, which is considered illegal, but it is still practiced by some physicians…
Author : nienoweloy
Euthanasia essay example
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