Pros And Cons Of Passive Euthanasia

Good Essays
Euthanasia has always been a prominent controversial topic, but it is getting even more popular because of the effectiveness of modern technology keeping people alive and some of those people do not want to stay alive. There are two main types of euthanasia, passive and active. Passive euthanasia (PE) is when the person wants to die and then they succeed in dying from their illness because they do not want to accept treatment or stops their current treatment. One of the most common examples of PE is when someone makes the decision to pull the plug of some form of technology keeping that person alive. On the other hand, active euthanasia (AE) is when there is a more active involvement from the doctor where the action causes the death of the…show more content…
Dr. James Rachels, in his article “Active and Passive Euthanasia” criticizes the AMA because he believes that passive euthanasia is just as worse as active euthanasia so you should either be for both or against both. His first argument against the AMA’s statement is that if the reason to end someone’s life is to put them out of their pain because there are not any further treatments to alleviate the pain then obviously it would be best to use the method that would end their life the fastest without causing pain. Thus, active euthanasia like a lethal injection would satisfy this reasoning much better than a passive euthanasia method such as a patient refusing treatment and suffering until they die. If you support passive euthanasia for this justification then according to this argument it would not make sense if you do not also support active euthanasia. His second argument is that he believes the AMA’s statement shows that choices in life and death situations are determined with inapplicable points. For instance, Dr. Rachels uses the example of how parents will sometimes let their Down’s syndrome infants die when they have a life threatening issue needing a simple operation. The parents will take advantage of that illness as a chance to…show more content…
Dr. Rachels on the other hand believes that letting them die can be as morally worse as killing them. He explains this through the use of an example known as the Smith and Jones case. In this scenario Smith and Jones want to receive an inheritance so they both set out to drown their cousin. Smith ends up drowning his cousin while Jones goes to drown his cousin but notices his cousin is already drowning in the tub so he decides to let him die. Both men had the same motive and willingness to kill the child, but the only difference was one killed while the other let them die. In this situation there is not a moral difference between killing and letting die. I believe the majority would agree that both are morally wrong. People might think that Dr. Rachels’s argument only works with negative motives, but it also works for euthanasia where the motives are generally for a positive reason such as relieving a patient from their suffering. For instance, looking at either passive euthanasia or active euthanasia it is the same positive motive and the same result and once again it only comes down to the killing and letting them die. Thus, it would not matter if the doctor either killed the patient or watched the patient die since they would be in the same moral positioning either way. The argument against this is that in passive euthanasia the doctors do not do anything to cause the patient’s death
Get Access