Megan Pitts BioethicsDr. Spera7 May 2018 The Moral Permissibility of Active, Voluntary EuthanasiaImagine this. There is a 47-year-old woman named Mary who suffers from Huntington’sdisease and has lost all mobility in her arms and legs. She is unable to walk, feed herself andeven activities as simple as sitting in a chair become very painful within a matter of minutes.Mary has recently expressed her wish to end her life in a safe, painless way. However, herdoctors are unwilling and the state that she lives in has deemed euthanasia illegal. Does Maryhave the right to end her own life because of her terminal condition? Should she be allowed toescape her pain and suffering or be forced to live with it until she dies naturally? Euthanasia, aprocess in which someone can request to have their life taken due to a terminal illness orexcessive physical pain, is an extremely controversial topic in many parts of the world (Vaughn626). A great deal of people believe that a person has the right to end their own life because oftheir autonomy. However, there is also a case for the idea that killing is murder and thateuthanasia would essentially be equivalent to murdering another individual. Each of thesearguments is supported with evidence from experts and real life situations from around theglobe. The concept of euthanasia is complicated and intricate but nonetheless an eminentlycrucial topic in the medical field. Euthanasia is defined as “directly or indirectly bringing about the death of another person forthe person’s sake” (Vaughn 626). It is argued for certain individuals who have experienced an
excessive amount of pain, caused by a terminal illness, and wish to end their life. The purpose ofeuthanasia is to end an individual’s life in a pain free and relaxed manner so that they are ableto be relieved of their suffering. There are two main categories of euthanasia, active andpassive. Active euthanasia is “actively intervening to secure someone’s death for their ownsake” while passive euthanasia is “allowing someone to die for their own sake” (Vaughn 626).There are also different types of euthanasia in regards to how it is executed. Voluntaryeuthanasia is “euthanasia conducted at the request of the patient”, non-voluntary euthanasia is“euthanasia performed in some cases where the patient is incompetent to decide and has notspecified in advance what kind of medical intervention ought to be used”, and involuntaryeuthanasia is “euthanasia performed without the consent of the patient when the patient iscompetent to decide” (Vaughn 627). These two different elements of euthanasia also combineto create more specific instances. Active voluntary euthanasia is directly killing a patient withtheir consent. Active non-voluntary euthanasia occurs in situations where the patient does notgive consent but is killed directly. Passive voluntary euthanasia is the act of withdrawing lifesustaining treatment with the consent of the patient. Passive non-voluntary euthanasia is
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