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Essay on An Argument for the Permissibility of Active Euthanasia

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Recently I have gone through the very difficult struggle of seeing my father come face to face with death. He was in the hospital, in a comatose state for nearly eight days. During that time, because he left me as his medical proxy, I was the one that made the decision about what course of action was to be take. It is my aim in this paper to address the question of whether or not it is ever permissible to actively aid in the death of another person. I will attempt to argue that active euthanasia can at times not only be permissible, but the correct action to take.
My definition of euthanasia, which will count for every time that I use the term throughout the paper, is the taking of a human life that benefits the victim in one way or the other. For the sake of clarity, I will go into a short definition of what is meant by “benefit” in regard to the victim. I will look over the consequences of taking a life and who that action affects, either directly or indirectly. And finally I will use the works of great philosophers before me to strengthen my argument through examples that both agree with me as well as those that go against what I have to say.
Before I go into my argument, I will explain how the layout of the essay will support my thesis. I will begin by using the definition of euthanasia as a basis for the permissibility of the act. I will follow this small intro with a short discussion about the moral standing of comatose individuals and what role that plays in active euthanasia. At this point I will introduce the opinion of Pope John Paul II who does not agree with my position and I will counter his argument and through this strengthen my own. After my refutation I will use the works of James Rachels and Frances M. Kamm to ...


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...conclusion. In the case of a patient in severe pain, and with the patients consent, it is sometimes permissible to administer a drug with the intent of causing death. This is permissible because causing death is a lesser evil stopping the suffering of the patient is a greater good. I almost had to face the decision of ending my own father’s life when he was in a coma, and even though I would be unable to do it, it is permissible for someone to end his life if the coma resulted in him being in a vegetative state with no higher brain function. Active euthanasia should be permissible in the cases that I have presented and after experiencing the shock of seeing my own father in such a condition, I have come to defend active euthanasia.








Works Cited

Morris, Christopher W. Questions of Life and Death: Readings in Practical Ethics. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. Print.


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