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The Ethical Valuation of Euthanasia

The ethical valuation of euthanasia has been hotly contested within both the judicial and ethical arena for the past two decades.Philosophers and politicians alike stand on either side of the debate without a clear view of the future ahead.Euthanasia itself is a term that needs further clarification; it is a term that encompasses two parts active euthanasia and passive euthanasia.Within active euthanasia there is an "intentional attempt at mercy killing" whereas within passive euthanasia a patient is "allowed to die".The difference, though subtle in nature has a strong ethical connotations.Within the medical profession, active euthanasia is argued to be strictly unethical precisely because it goes against the creed of medical ethics.The AMA (American Medical Association) argues that by allowing active euthanasia we are promoting a culture that is antithetical to the practice of medicine.They forward several rational explanations for this perspective.First, that there have been cases where medical technology has allowed those who were incurable to become cured, as in the case of HIV/AIDS and certain types of cancers.Another argument is that patients, especially those who cannot speak for themselves may often wish to live given the opportunity, and the status quo assumption of any medical professional should always error on the side of living.Finally, they argue that active euthanasia entails doctors to kill, and it represents a symbolic "giving up", all three reasons provide a rationale explanation for their position against euthanasia.The ethics of active euthanasia is very clear cut, in the minds of many, acting to cause the death of an individual constitutes direct participation.Detractors of euthanasia claim that by physically taking action to cause death, an agent becomes morally reprehensible for the action because he or she becomes a direct player.
The question surroundi…

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