Euthanasia: Ethics and Life Essay

Submitted By vanreath
Words: 7350
Pages: 30


1. What is Euthanasia?
Euthanasia is the act of intentionally killing someone to end suffering. To support this definition quoting from the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: euthanasia is ("an action or omission which of itself and by intention causes death, in order that all suffering may be eliminated.")- John Paul II's encyclical letter Number 65.
Euthanasia comes from the greek word euthanatos : 'well' 'death'
Euthanasia can be considered: voluntary - with the active consent of the individual or involuntary - without the consent of the individual.

2. What are ethics?
Ethics are the moral principles which govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.
Ethics (or morals), are procedures for distinguishing between right and wrong, such as the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"), a code of professional conduct like the Hippocratic Oath ("First of all, do no harm") or a religious creed like the Ten Commandments ("You hall love the Lord your God…"). At a more fundamental level, Ethics is the method by which we categorize our values and pursue them.
(“Medical ethics deal more specifically with the moral choices of taking certain actions to save or preserve life while following human rights protocol.”) - Collins Oxford Dictionary

3. Why is Euthanasia an ethical issue?

("No ethical questions are more timely more controversial than those involving human life") - Richard M. Doerflinger
The Sanctity of Life according to the Catholic Church refers to the idea that human life is sacred, argued mainly by the pro-life side in political and moral debates over such controversial issues as euthanasia.
(“The Sanctity of Life means that human life is sacred, always. It is not valued on a sliding scale based on how that life was conceived, if it is the preferred gender, or if that life will attain the very subjective "quality of life." Every human being is of equal value, from conception to natural death. We believe in it because we believe that God is the author of life and that every life is purposeful. “) - Misty-United the Year of Faith

Euthanasia is widely seen as the second option to dying slowly in unrelieved pain therefore people see it as a preferable option. Euthanasia is an ethical issue because it undermines individual and corporate incentives for creative caring and will cause advances in the science of killing at the expense of treatment and symptoms control. Beyond that it undermines the value of human life and creates a slippery slope from voluntary euthanasia in ordinary situations to involuntary euthanasia in both ordinary and extra ordinary cases. During World War 2 Nazi Germany slipped down this slope from euthanizing the sick and dying to anyone who did not by their standards contribute to the society until they killed anyone who was not part of their "perfect" race. German Doctor Brandt K (1948) gave us a chilling reminder of how conscience and opinion on euthanasia can gradually change when he said that ("I did not feel unethical or immoral I simply believed that euthanasia was the right decision and I have a perfectly clear conscience about the part I played in the affair") - Doctor Brandt K
("We are not dealing here only with "life" in the abstract, but with human relationships.”)- Mr Doerflinger
A large ethical issue concerning euthanasia is the risk that the patient may have been pressured into the decision to end their own life, perhaps by a family member or for financial reasons or the fact that they feel they are a 'burden' on their family. Other ethical issues that could arise when caring for someone at the end of their life include the risk that the patient may not be mentally stable enough to make such a drastic decision, and that the doctors could act on this decision before the individual has been correctly psychologically analysed, or before they have perhaps finished their spell of depression. There is a strong