• Created by: Doja-cat
  • Created on: 10-07-22 12:28

voluntary euthanasia


  • People should have the right to avoid pain and should be able to choose a gentle, painless death as long as the decision is made rationally
  • Suicide is an option for able-bodied people, so it is discriminatory to not allow it for disabled people
  • For a consequentialist a situation is morally good or bad based upon its outcome
  • If euthanasia brings positive consequences e.g. ends suffering & burdens then euthanasia can be acceptable
  • Consequentialists also see no difference between acts and omissions e.g. a doctor not giving a terminally ill person medicine (omission) is the same as a doctor that gives a fatal drug to euthanise them
  • J S Mill ‘Harm Principle’
  • If an action causes no harm to anyone else and brings ends the harm experienced by the individual, then by this principle, if someone opts for voluntary euthanasia it should be permitted
  • Gregory Pence argues that voluntary euthanasia is a moral thing to do
  • He argues that forcing someone to die a slow suffering death is no different from just forcing someone to die. Both course of action violates a person’s autonomy
  • Fletcher's situation ethics -
  • 6th of the 6 propositions states that love decides on each situation and this allows human life to ended by voluntary euthanasia
  • 2nd of the 6 propositions states that in ethical decision making love replaces all laws and this allows human life to be ended by voluntary euthanasia
  • Fletcher's  4 principles -
  • relativism the 2nd  of the 4 principles is based on making absolute laws of christian ethics relative according to the principle of agape and this applies to the Law of God revealed in the Ten Commandments and may allow human life to be ended by voluntary euthanasia
  • quality of life means human life must posses certain attributes in order to have value and without those attributes human life may be  ended by euthanasia
  • if a person has complete autonomy (the state of being self-governing or having the ability to make one's own decisions independently of external control) over their own life and decisions made about their life, it may be ended by voluntary euthanasia


  • Allowing it will encourage unscrupulous people to put pressure on sick relatives to end their lives when this was not what they wanted
  • Patients may make wrong decisions under emotional or distressing situations, but change their minds afterwards
  • Voluntary euthanasia serves no purpose for utilitarian and teleological theories:
  • If we base our approval of euthanasia on utilitarian grounds i.e. better deployment of resources, time, money & maximum happiness – then why do we need consent of the patient? Let’s makes all euthanasia non-voluntary since the goal is maximum utility/outcome
  • Slippery Slope Argument -
  • Claims that if a rule is weakened even for good reasons, it can be weakened again through less justified reasons and it could eventually get out of hand (because the outcome is already accepted – so intention does not matter as much)
  • E.g. Haldane & McIntyre opposed legalising euthanasia in the UK, because they argued that, allowing euthanasia for actual unbearable pain from terminal illness would eventually become undistinguished from the mere fear of discomfort, pain and loss
  • If euthanasia is permitted for those that requested, then logically it could be permitted for those that cannot request it
  • sanctity of life means human life is made in God's image and is therefore sacred in value - it cannot be ended by voluntary euthanasia
  • the 4 tiers of Aquinas's natural law include  Divine Law - the law of God revealed in the Ten Commandments- voluntary euthanasia involves killing and therefore breaks Divine Law.
  • the significant concept in natural law of telos (theory of morality that derives duty or moral obligation from what is good or desirable as an end to be achieved)can be applied to human life- voluntary euthanasia prevents this being reached
  • the precepts of Aquinas's natural law include preservation of life- therefore voluntary euthanasia as a secondary precept goes against this primary precept
  • voluntary euthanasia can never be reconciled with the concept of agape in Fletcher's situation ethics


MIDDLE GROUND - voluntary euthanasia allows a patient with an incurable or terminal illness to end their life at their request or with their consent which is not morally wrong, whereas voluntary euthanasia for other reasons such as poor quality of life is morally wrong.- non-medical intervention to end a patient's life is not morally wrong, whereas medical intervention to end a patient's life is morally wrong.- in some situations, but not in all, the doctrine of double effect may be used to allow voluntary euthanasia as a secondary effect of a primary action.PLAN-intro- rephrase the question, what is voluntary euthanasia?, the scholars for and against, therefore- thesis ( in some cases it is morally acceptable but not all)explanation- key concepts ( euthanasia (mercy killing), sanctity of life vs quality of life, non-voluntary euthanasia, personhood, autonomy) are briefly explained in no more than 1 paragraph.1 PEREL- situation ethics points, counter argument - the sanctity of life argument 2 PEREL- Gregory pence argument and the first advantage, counter argument- 2 disadvantage and Aquinas points conclusion- back your thesis and add points you made from the 2 arguments ( E.g. In conclusion, this essay deems that voluntary euthanasia is only morally acceptable in certain circumstances because the topic of euthanasia as a whole is very complex and individualistic making some cases of euthanasia seem immoral as there are for some other options available but ultimately it is down to personal choice for most.)


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