The Ethics of Active Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide
The Ethics of Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide
The movement to legalize active euthanasia has existed forquite some time. Initially popularized in Britain during the 19thcentury, it gained some adherents in the United States duringthe 1920's. It was the Nazi program of active euthanasia in the1930's and 40's that cast a pall of disrepute over the practicethat remains today. The revival of this movement today can largelybe attributed to the onset of the issues discussed at the beginningof this paper, and to the efforts of the Hemlock Society, a groupof individuals that actively promotes the right to "dignifieddeath." The Hemlock Society recently promoted ballot initiativesin both Washington and California that would have legalized activeeuthanasia in those states (Gifford, 1993). This revival of the"right to die" movement has led to hotly contested debateabout the practices of active euthanasia and physician assistedsuicide. This paper will attempt to encapsulate this debate bypresenting the arguments made by both opponents and supportersof these procedures. Since arguments made by both sides are usedin cases of euthanasia and assisted suicide, the generic term"euthanasia" is used for simplicity to suggest the conceptof "aided death" unless otherwise indicated. Those opposedto euthanasia and assisted suicide present a variety of argumentsin support of a ban.
The Moral Dilemma of Euthanasia essays
Once euthanasia becomes legal, opponents contend, the potentialfor abuse at the hands of caregivers vastly increases. Closelyrelated to this argument is the argument that those who enjoythe exercise of power over others might become intoxicated withit and actually come to enjoy killing.