The Social Issue and Ethical Values of Euthanasia

Published: 2021-07-02 22:45:05
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Category: Euthanasia

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A current event or contemporary social issue that involves ethical values would be the debate about Euthanasia and weather it is ethically right or wrong. “The term Euthanasia originated from the Greek word ‘good death’ (Dictionary). ” It is the act or practice of ending the life of a person either by lethal injection or the suspension of medical treatment. There are three different types of Euthanasia, voluntary Euthanasia, involuntary Euthanasia, and active Euthanasia. Some of the different types may seem more ethical and socially acceptable than the others.
Voluntary Euthanasia is when a competent person makes a voluntary and enduring request to be helped to die. “I can agree with lots of Professor David Richmond’s assertions about social issues and age but he seems to miss the main point of voluntary euthanasia- it is for terminally ill, or those suffering an irreversible and unbearable condition (SundayStar). ” This type of Euthanasia, unlike the other two, seems much more ethical and socially acceptable because the person is actually alert and aware of their disease and aware of their own quality of life.
Reasons for an individual to make this decision could be that they are in extreme pain or their quality of life is low. Others beg to differ; some believe that a person should not make these decisions especially most religious individuals because they believe that the decision is solely up to a higher power rather than oneself. Involuntary Euthanasia is to end a person’s life without their knowledge or consent which seems to be rather unethical, and morally wrong.
However, in this case, the individual is more than likely unable to make this decision because they are connected to breathing machines and life support keeping them alive. In some cases, these types of individuals could completely turn around and recover without life support keeping them alive, unfortunately that is not always the case for many. So, a decision must be made by the family members and doctors caring for them. Active euthanasia is to end a person’s life by use of drugs, whether by oneself or with the aid of a physician.
In this case, the individual may have a terminal illness and makes the decision of a lethal injection since the quality of life is so low. “A well-known example of active euthanasia was the death of a terminally ill patient in Michigan. Dr. Kevorkian videotaped himself administering a lethal medication to him and was found guilty of second-degree murder and went to prison (Dictionary). ” This case caused so much controversy since the man was terminally ill and made the decision to end his pain.
In the newspaper article from “The Gazette,” released information about how there would only be very few doctors willing to assist in active euthanasia. “Only one in five doctors surveyed by the Canadian Medical Association said they would be willing to perform euthanasia if the practice were legalized in this country. – Twice as many -42 percent- said they would refuse to do so (The Gazette). ” The social issue and ethical outlook on euthanasia has a lot in common with the ethical theory of Utilitarianism.
John Stuart Mill is mainly associated with this theory. “The theory of Utilitarianism holds that the right action ethically is the one that will go the farthest toward increasing happiness for the community as a whole” (South University). It seems that euthanasia goes hand in hand with this ethical theory because the overall decision is based soley on what makes the individual happier, laying in bed with absolutely no quality of life, or choosing to end the pain and misery.
In contrast, the ethical theory of Deontology has no similarities to the topic of euthanasia since Deontology focuses more on the duty of an individual. “For example, if a person were suicidal, the Golden Rule would tell other people to kill people because that is what the suicidal person would like them to do to him or her. However, the categorical imperative tells us that the maxim of such an action is logically untenable because everyone would end up dead and there would be no moral beings left at all

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