What is the real moral difference between these practices? The Institute for Medical Ethics Working Party on the Ethics of Prolonging Life and Assisting Death stated that:
When the intention and outcome of killing and letting die are equivalent (in each case a good intention and a fatal outcome), then the circumstances become a crucial factor in the moral evaluation of killing and letting die.
Indeed, there is a strong case for arguing that actively ending life is more ethical, since death is guaranteed to be quick, easy and dignified - exactly what everyone wants. On the other hand, when treatment is withheld and a patient is simply allowed to die, that death is not necessarily quick or easy. Nor, under current practice of passive euthanasia, does the patient always consent.
The most important point is whether the individual involved asks for help to die. And, despite your fears to the contrary, people do know their own minds on the matter. It is patronising and paternalistic to assume that anyone else does not know what is really best for them.
The Voluntary Euthanasia
23 SeptemberReuse content