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Evaluate the ethical argument for and against keeping a person alive against his or her will.

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Introduction

Evaluate the ethical argument for and against keeping a person alive against his or her will. In the majority of countries today there is an existing law that states if a patient suffering from an incurable illness or from unbearable pain, asks their doctor to help end their lives, then they are putting them in a position to be charged with murder. Those that are in favour of voluntary euthanasia1 believe that this law should be abolished because they feel the patient should not have to suffer. In the Netherlands this law in not in forced and doctors are able quite openly to relieve a suffering patient and have been able to do so since the 1980's. In Holland it is believed that approximately one thousand assisted deaths occur in one year. The issue of euthanasia has been recognised for a very long time. The moral philosopher Hippocrates said 'I will not prescribe a deadly drug to please someone, nor give advice that may cause his death'. Euthanasia is frowned upon by many people, as it is a criminal offence in nearly all countries and strongly opposed to by governments and religious organisations. ...read more.

Middle

Direct euthanasia involves the use of something specific to cause it, and indirect euthanasia refers to cases where death occurs as a side effect of treatment. The third distinction is between active and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is the same as direct euthanasia as it is the intentional act of mercy killing. However, passive euthanasia is not the act of killing but of letting die, it allows the person to die while slowly withdrawing their treatment. Unusually, even the Roman Catholic Church accepts that sometimes a patient should be permitted to die. The church says that nobody has the right to kill but in the same respect, no one has the right to prolong someone's painful suffering. Voluntary euthanasia is often justified on the grounds that the death is preferable to the suffering that the person would have to undergo if their life was not terminated. Therefore, it is based on the expected results of physical or emotional pain. Contrary to this, involuntary euthanasia is when someone is killed in order to save them from additional suffering, but these people do not consent to their own death either because they are not asked or because when asked they choose to carry on living. ...read more.

Conclusion

They were not motivated by concern for the suffering of those being killed. If the laws were changed so that anyone could carry out an act of euthanasia there would be no boundaries for the killing of those competent or incompetent. Doctors already have a great deal of power over life and death as they have the ability to withhold any patient's treatment. It is believed by some that the legalisation of euthanasia may well act as a check on the power of doctors since it may bring into the open what some doctors may do in secret. The immorality of doctors is rarely questioned so it is unknown whether legalising euthanasia would be a good step to take when considering they way in which doctors work. People put a great deal of faith in their doctors but this may change if some doctors are discovered to be less moral and honest as was originally thought of them. Euthanasia is one of the most widely debated occurrences in many countries. It is a highly complex topic and may never cease to be differed over. Many principles have been offered as a way of understanding euthanasia but they do not give answers or ways around the massive problems that arise for many people and their relatives when faced with the right to live or the right to die. ...read more.

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