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Voluntary vs Involuntary
Voluntary: Patient gives consent to die
Non-voluntary: Patient doesn't/cannot give consent to die
Legalising voluntary can be a slippery slope to allow
involuntary euthanasia
Justify actions like Hitler persecuting millions of Jews,
elderly, homosexual people.
The elderly can fear losing autonomy and this can create
perceived risk of not wanting to go to hospitals
Utilitarianism would argue that it is the right action is the
person is suffering in extreme agony and has no hope of
recovery…read more

Slide 3

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Active vs Passive
Active- lethal injections
Passive- withdrawal of food/medication
For example if someone had no hope of recovery
and could not communicate or move, is it right to
withdraw food?
Although this may seem the more `moral' thing to
do, it is like seeing someone drown. Isn't it the
same to push someone as it is to watch them
drown?…read more

Slide 4

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Whatever produces the most happiness is the best action.
Hedonic Calculus (more concerned here with preventing pain than
actual pleasure):
REMOTENESS ­ pain for the person suffering is far closer than for
relatives and others
PURITY ­ the act of euthanasia may cause pain for doctors and relatives
RICHNESS ­ people may feel relieved and glad, but equally guilty and
INTENSITY ­ pain suffered may be intense, but so might feelings against
CERTAINTY ­ all future suffering is uncertain yet ending of a life is a
certain thing
EXTENT ­ pain suffered through euthanasia may affect as many people
as the pain of watching someone suffer
DURATION ­ length of suffering is relevant; guilt and negative feelings
might endure
From Mills perspective, pain is a lower pleasure, and therefore carries
less weight.…read more

Slide 5

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Arguments FOR
Its not murder- killing someone who wants to die is not wrong
Merciful- for those suffering with agonising pain so voluntary
euthanasia ends this suffering
Autonomy- Mill stated that in matters that do not concern
others, individuals have full autonomy. We should be allowed
to control over important matter in our lives, death is a very
important matter. Kervorkian agrees that autonomy and self
control is essential in medical ethics
Goes on already- doctors can legally withhold treatment but
cannot directly help them die
Dignity- not only a matter of pain but self respect . Quality of
life is worth living is the one only they can define- having
control over their life is a way maintaining dignity…read more

Slide 6

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Arguments AGAINST
Motives- how do know if patient really wants their life to end? They
may just be crying in despair...doctors may not have all the facts to
make a decision
Mistakes- the patient might've been misdiagnosed so their condition
may be curable. What if euthanasia is carried out and doctors realises
that there was a mistake?
Abuse of the system- elderly may feel a burden to their family and
decide that its their duty to carry out voluntary euthanasia. Relatives
or even the doctor can pressurize elderly to end their lives.
Impact on community- slippery slope; could lead to legalisation of
non-voluntary euthanasia. Nazis carried this out on Jews, elderly and
disabled. Moreover elderly would be concerned about visiting
hospitals and have a perceived risk of unwanted assisted death. This
would reduce respect for life...…read more

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