Is Active Euthanasia Morally Wrong

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In order to understand Rachels’ argument, one must first understand the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. Which is: “It is always morally worse to do harm than to allow that same harm to occur” (Shafer-Landau, 226). For example, giving a patient a lethal injection is worse than allowing that same patient to die with infection or disease. One killing an individual is an action, and letting an individual die is the absence of an action. Rachels however, believes that killing and letting die are morally the same. He uses this stance to argue that if passive euthanasia is permissible than active euthanasia has to be permissible as well. His first two points are as follows: It can be more painful to allow a patient to pass than to cause the patient’s passing with medication, and “that the conventional doctrine leads to decisions concerning life and death made on irrelevant grounds” (Rachels, 303).…show more content…
This new born was born with complications and surgery would only prolong his or her short life, so the parents chose not to have the operations done on the child. The infant then endures a drawn out death as “dehydration and infection wither a tiny being over hours and days” (Rachels, 303). One could just give this child an injection and end this life painlessly, but instead the child is allowed to die painfully. This proves Rachels first point. Now, say this same infant had an intestinal blockage that could be removed easily, but if not removed it could prove to be lethal. One would never allow a child to die because of something so minuscule, but the complications the child was born with would be the real reason not to operate. This shows how life or death decisions could be made on irrelevant premises (Rachels, 303). The author’s third point states how killing is not morally worse than letting die. He explains this point with his most prominent scenario. Two men named Smith and Jones both have a 6-year-old

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