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Euthanasia, "Mercy Killing"?

Euthanasia is often called “mercy killing”. It is intentionally making someone die, rather than allowing that person to die naturally. It is sometimes the act of ending someone’s life, who is terminally ill, or is suffering in severe pain. Euthanasia is mostly illegal in the world today. Euthanasia can be considered a form of suicide, if the person afflicted with the problem actively does it. The person volunteering to commit the act to that person can also consider it a form of murder.

The positive side of Euthanasia is that it ends a person’s suffering in this world. Many physicians and psychiatrists believe that it may a humane act. From a virtue ethics point of view, it may be appropriate. What we seek in human existence is to be happy, and find happiness. Suffering from a terminal illness, or affliction, could inhibit one’s happiness in life. If the goal is to be happy, then Euthanasia would be an answer for this person. Euthanasia may even bring about happiness in that it is what the person desires and wants, in order to no longer to be a burden to his/her family. Also, Euthanasia would stop the pain and not prolong the dying process.

In the utilitarian point of view we all have a duty to our happiness, and a duty to the society. Euthanizing a person based on the society aspect makes sense. With greater and greater emphasis put on managed care today, many doctors are at a financial risk when they provide treatments to patients who are in the dying process. These patients may also feel like not becoming a burden to the society at large, and choose to fulfill a duty – Euthanasia. If the person is in a coma or is brain dead, that person is no use to himself or herself, or society anymore. Euthanasia is a viable method to end an otherwise futile attempt at recovery.

The family of the person being euthanized may not want their family members in pain – to suffer. It can be a family duty to do the right thing for the person and society. Depression, family conflict, feelings of abandonment, and hopelessness, are emotional burdens on family members seeing a person suffer. Committing euthanasia may be the humane act to do for the afflicted family member in this case.

The euthanized person may even be of use to society in...

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