Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide
Death is an inevitable occurrence through which every human being must pass through. The most critical question that remains unanswered and that philosophers and legal personnel have been exploring is; who holds power to take away life? Over the years, it is believed that no human being has control over life. I do firmly believe in the school of thought that no human being should decide on whether the life of another person should be terminated. Molarity would significantly degrade if the power to live or die was put in the hands of any human being (Kass, 1991). The intrinsic societal values have maintained dignity among all humans, and violating them should not be allowed.
Whenever killing and letting die terms are mentioned, most people view killing to be illegal, but letting die to be a natural phenomenon. James Rachel, in his article `Active and Passive Euthanasia` views Euthanasia on the moral perspective rather than a legal perspective. In his argument, passive Euthanasia is permissible, but active Euthanasia cannot be permitted. The biggest challenge is distinguishing active and Passive Euthanasia. Active Euthanasia could be termed as murder, while passive Euthanasia could be viewed as mercy killing. Morally both are wrong and subject to abuse (Rachels, 1975). For instance, a child would be born with Downs Syndrome giving the parents to choose between having to undergo a surgical procedure and live with the complication forever or take the path of passive Euthanasia. Morally deciding to take the life of the young child is wrong. At the same time, the parent would be viewed to protect the child from a future health complication. The young child is not given an opportunity. Being unable to distinguish active and passive Euthanasia makes the whole argument invalid and has got loophole to abuse.
James Rachel views killing and letting die to be the same as the outcome is the same, and only the procedure and time taken differ. Philippa Foot, however, disagrees with this and views killing and letting die to be two different concepts. He views killing as taking action resulting in death, whereas making die is allowing nature to take its course (Foot, 2002). For instance, a doctor may be in a dilemma of whether to allow a patient to die slowly under pain or administer a drug such as morphine to reduce the pain even though the outcome of the administration is death. Immanuel Kant, in his article on Mercy killing, argues out that there are limits on what we can do to ourselves. Life should end itself but should never be concluded on happiness or pain basis.
Life should always be viewed to be worthy despite being worthy or not. Allowing Euthanasia and Physician-assisted suicide would implicate compromising this molarity. The patient would be in intense pain, justifying a need to reduce the pain through mercy killing. F.M. Kamm in Boston Review Paper argues out that death would be the lesser evil, while reduction of the pain would be the greater good (Kamm, 2019). This may seem beneficial, but the method of evaluating the pain extends to justify mercy killing is not available, making the argument invalid.
In conclusion, mercy killing is morally wrong, and most of the scholars agree to the fact that no human being should be given power over life. Allowing people to have control over life would result in murder cases in the name of mercy killing resulting in loss of life value and societal dignity.
Foot, P. (2002). Moral Dilemmas: and Other Topics in Moral. Killing and Letting Die, 1 – 9.
Kamm. (2019). A moral argument for the permissibility of Euthanasia and. Boston Review, A Right to Choose Death, 1 – 13.
Kass, L. R. (1991). Why Doctors Must Not Kill. Commonweal, S8.
Rachels, J. (1975). Active and Passive Euthanasia. The New England Journal of Medicine, 7 – 80.