Is Active Euthanasia Moral or Ethical

Euthanasia has remained controversial in biomedical ethics for a long time now. It is not known whether it is moral or ethical based on the implications of euthanasia. This paper takes a closer look at cons and pros of arguments forwarded for and against the practice.

Even though one cannot argue conclusively against or for euthanasia, when practiced under a given circumstance, it is morally permissible hence, the need to legalize it. This paper however looks at pressing issues explicitly.


Literature Review

The controversy surrounding euthanasia is directed towards the end of one’s life and it dates back to the 20th century. In 1990s, the controversy was even more intense following a suicide physician assisted event in the case of Jack Kevorkian. Jacks license was revoked by Michigan Board of Medicine for assisting three clients to end their lives.

The controversy is also directed at the role of a family member for example, a physician and the doctor in euthanasia. This is because it is often not clear whether the consent of a person seeking active euthanasia is of sound mind. Surrogate decisions orally or in writing also brings into the picture the fact that active euthanasia can used on Vulnerable patients without their consent.

The US government in 1990 passed a Patient Self Determination act that directs nursing homes, hospices and hospitals to provide advanced directives and legal documents to patients seeking euthanasia. This helps patients to make sound decisions on the end of their life care.

The living will is the patients consent in written form given before euthanasia. The document is therefore very useful especially where the patient’s judgment is questionable. Even so, Washington, Montana and Oregon have their own laws on euthanasia.

What’s more, active euthanasia has continued to be a source of controversy. Many people hold divergent views on the same including

Pros and cons of arguments against active euthanasia

Extreme views

Religious bodies consider life very valuable and in the event of life and death, the life of a patient is of utmost importance. Therefore, nobody should choose when to live or end his or her life as in the case of euthanasia. Religious bodies also consider euthanasia as murder. However, since the patient is involved, letting die is not morally wrong based on the aims and what it achieves.

Moderate views

Moderate views consider passive euthanasia morally right because it is letting a person die. Active euthanasia on the other hand is killing a patient as opposed to omission hence, morally wrong based on the sanctity of life. Therefore, the moderate views take a look at the intention of euthanasia and its outcome in the long run.

It also argues that medicines and doctors help to prevent, cure disease and prolong life. As a result, it is not acceptable to prescribe medication that end’s a patient’s life. As a result, the doctor or physician should not take part in euthanasia.

Pros and cons of arguments for euthanasia

Many views favor active euthanasia and even so, the principles of ethics have to be considered in the process. There is the principle of autonomy and principle of wellbeing. As a result, there is need to promote a patients autonomy to enhance his or her wellbeing.

Right based arguments settles for self-determination and principles of autonomy. Therefore, patients can make decisions over their health and bodies. According to Farside, nurses and doctors should always respect a patient’s decision on euthanasia whether they are taking part in it or not.

However, there have been arguments against the principles because euthanasia lacks respect to life.

In conclusion, active euthanasia remains a highly debatable issue. Legislations on the issue are not perfect and the practice is considered morally wrong by many people. It is a matter of life and death and patients’ wellbeing should always be taken into consideration.