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euthanasia:The painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in
an irreversible coma. Often referred to as mercy killing. Comes from the Greek Eu meaning
good and thantos meaning death, so it literally means good death.
voluntary euthanasia: this is when they ask and express their want for death.
Non-voluntary euthanasia: ending someone's life when they are unable to ask themselves e.g.
vegetative state or a coma.
Active euthanasia: actively doing something to make death happen e.g. lethal injection.
Passive euthanasia:Passive euthanasia occurs when the patient dies because the medical
professionals either don't do something necessary to keep the patient alive, or when they stop
doing something that is keeping the patient alive e.g. turn off life support machines.
euthanasia or assisted suicide is illegal in the UK. If you help someone commit euthanasia you
can be charge with up to 14 years in prison. There has been four attempts to pass a bill to
legalise euthanasia all have been rejected. Dr cox is the only doctor ever persecuted in the uk
for euthanasia he was give 12 months suspended sentence. A person who carries out can be
charge with murder but this can be reduced to manslaughter and people are rarely persecuted.
The only places euthanasia is legal are Netherlands , Belgium and Switzerland all allow
Religious views on euthanasia.
Christian:Christians are mostly against euthanasia. The arguments are usually based on the beliefs
that life is given by God, and that human beings are made in God's image. Some churches also
emphasise the importance of not interfering with the natural process of death. They argue birth
and death is decided by god so we have no right to intervene.
Roman catholic: they argue euthanasia is morally wrong and you are not allowed to do anything
which will purposely cause death e.g. injection or taking out feeding tubes. But they do argue it
is OK to refuse extraordinary evasive and aggressive treatments and die a natural death. They
also agree with the doctrine of double effect meaning you can take pain killers which you know
will shorten a persons life.
Church of England: similar to Roman Catholics believe euthanasia is morally wrong. They also
agree with the doctrine of double effect. They argue for people to use hospices as they argue
society should take care of the old and sick not kill them. There argument s connected to slippery
These are absolutist who argue under no circumstance is euthanasia allowed.
Some Christians: allow euthanasia as they argue Jesus showed love and compassion to relieve
sickness and suffering so we should do the same.
Islam general view:The Shari'a ( Islamic Law) listed and specified the indications for taking life
(i.e. the exceptions to the general rule of sanctity of human life), and they do not include mercy
killing or make allowance for it. Human life per se is a value to be respected unconditionally,
irrespective of other circumstances. The concept of a life not worthy of living does not exist in
Islam. Justification of taking life to escape suffering is not acceptable in Islam. You are allowed
to stop medication or turn of life support machines but you can not induce death. They also allow
the doctrine of double effect.
Ethical views on euthanasia
kantian: Kant argues we do not make decision out of compassion but reason and what is the right
thing to do. He argues you must universalise everything e.g. all terminally people can be helped
to die if they want. This can be a good and bad thing. Good because it allows euthanasia, bad
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So kant does not agree with
euthanasia 1) it contradictory if universalised 2) its murder and to universalise murder is wrong.
Utilitarianism: Bentham's hedonic Calculus can be used to weigh up the pleasure and pain caused
by two courses of action - in this case, helping someone to die, or not doing so. Bentham would
consider the Intensity of the pain and its Duration.…read more
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He did not get immunity, the disease took its inevitable course, and Dianne Pretty
died in hospital under exactly the sort of conditions she had wanted to avoid. A documentary
crew recorded the suffering and loss of dignity that Dianne Pretty endured, and this made her
case very well known in England. The court cases, show an interesting range of ethical responses,
ending with the statement from the European Courts only weeks before she died that Dianne
Pretty did not have the right to die.…read more
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Many terminal illnesses can cause distressing and painful symptoms when the person reaches their
final stages, such as:
unpleasant and sometimes frightening breathing difficulties
upsetting emotions and feelings such as fear, apprehension and distress
Palliative sedation is a way of relieving needless suffering. While palliative sedation is not
intended to end lives, the medication carries a risk of shortening life. This has led some critics to
argue that palliative sedation is a type of euthanasia.…read more