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Should voluntary assisted death be
This presentation deals in nearly all fields of Legal, Professional, and Natural
Human Ethics.
Ken Shimauchi 2010
Euthanasia has been in use for thousands of year, its root meaning comes from the
Greek term- Eu(Happy) and the term thanatos(death), meaning “Happy Death”.
There is ongoing controversy and debate whether or not euthanasia should be
legalized in the United States.
Euthanasia is a very generalized term for a painless death. Typically, euthanasia is
divided into subfields which are broken down circumstantially.
Voluntary Euthanasia: Euthanasia by consent! (2) cases of voluntary.
• Passive- Passive euthanasia is the denial of treatments which would be
necessary to sustain one’s life. In other words, life saving medicines would be
discontinued in order to bring about death-voluntarily! This is considered
passive, in that, the doctor is not directly involved in administrating death
causing medicines.
• Active- Active euthanasia is the use of lethal substances which results in
death. The individual may use devices to his or her own will to induce death
voluntarily. Ex. A button which can be depressed by the individual which
administers a death causing poison. Some doctors were engaged in active
euthanasia, and some have been convicted of murder for doing so(Dr.
Kevorkian, was sentenced to 8th years in prison).
Involuntary Euthanasia: Euthanasia conducted without consent is termed
involuntary euthanasia. Involuntary euthanasia is conducted where an individual
makes a decision for another person incapable of doing so. EX. One has the
power of attorney and decides that the individual should be taken off of a life
support system, or in cases of prolonged comma or in cases were the power of
attorney was given authority and instructed to carry out such a task during such a
Moral Codes
The Taboo of Euthanasia
Religious views have shaped
morality, ethics and therefore law,
as a result, euthanasia is not
practiced in many countries.
Few Examples
Christianity: Your body isn’t yours its
property of god.(1Corinthians 6:19-20).
Islam: Do not kill (or destroy)
Hindu: Urge against the practice due
to the damage it creates to ones
Orthodox Church: opposes euthanasia
Nearly all religious groups, forbid
What is interesting to note is that
even with the large diversity in the
world the majority embrace a
moral value which bans the use of
euthanasia from being practiced.
In the examples sometimes these
religions are referenced as hard
universalism, in ethics.
Ethical views of Euthanasia
(Consequentialism, Deontology, Virtue Theory)
Recall, that utilitarianism is the concept of
maximizing pleasure or happiness over
that of pain.
Euthanasia can not possibly induce any
form of pleasure by the individual, or by
the aggregate society as a whole. It could
be debated, however, if minimizing pain
could include death? Ex. The individual is
suffering terribly and would be better off
feeling nothing!
An action is moral if its in agreement
with the moral rules of the society.
Euthanasia fails in most cases simply
because most society adopts a
morality which feels its immoral. This
is not true in Oregon, where “assisted
suicide is practiced”.
Lastly, there is no moral code that
exists that fosters the ideology that self
termination is the right and moral thing
to do even if you are suffering a ill fate.
Ethical view of Euthanasia
Virtue Theory
[I]f virtue theory is described as a
moral right if the individual is acting in
a manner which is in accordance with
what a “good model citizen” would do
then euthanasia can never be
considered as the morally right thing to
do. Aristotle also applied this concept
to a manner of function. If the function
of a pen is to write, then a good pen
would be one that writes well. So if the
function of a human is to thrive and
flourish in well being, then a morally
good human would be one that is
fulfilled. (Aristotle’s Moral Theory).
Consented self-termination can not
produce any enrichment in ones life or
In concluding whether or not
euthanasia should be legalized, I
would have to say that nearly all
normative theories of ethics would say
that it is the morally wrong thing to do.
Further, even if they did legalize
euthanasia I think it would be difficult
to find a health care practitioner who
would engage in assisting one to their
own death, as it is often in contrast
with the principles of Medical Ethics.
However, from a libertarian view, your
body is your property and you should
have the right to do what ever they
want with their bodies. They would
argue what criteria is needed in order
for euthanasia to be considered
Eye To Eye: Assited Suicide(CBS News)
Wikipedia Euthanasia:
Justice Whats the Right Thing To Do?, “Micahel J. Sandel”,Farrar, Stratus and Giroux. NY.2007