22 April 2013
Euthanasia or Just Plain Murder:
The Mercy Death/Killing Debate
Euthanasia is the practice of ending a life in order to release an individual from unbearable suffering or an incurable disease. Euthanasia the word is derived from Ancient Greek, Eu meaning “good” and Thantos meaning “Death” and when combined the term means “Good Death”. Mercy Death by definition is taking a direct action to terminate a person’s life because the person has requested to do so. This also includes physician assisted suicide, not to be confused with suicide which is the taking of one’s life by one’s own hand without assistance. Mercy Killing is also a term used and it refers to someone taking a direct action to terminate a person’s life without the person’s permission. Within this paper I will discuss Immanuel Kant and the utilitarianism ethical theories revolving around the issues of euthanasia.
Euthanasia or “mercy killing/death” as it may be referred to as has become more complex as the centuries go on; there are three specific forms of Euthanasia. There is Voluntary, Involuntary, and Nonvoluntary euthanasia. Voluntary Euthanasia is when someone other than the patient intentionally terminates the patient’s life. The term Mercy Death can be applied to this type of Active Euthanasia because the patient is giving voluntary consent; such as a “living will’ or communicating verbally. A “living will” is a written document that the patient who is terminally ill instructs anybody to take his/her own life.
Involuntary Euthanasia is the complete opposite of the voluntary form of euthanasia. This is when the patient’s life is taken without the consent of the patient. This form of euthanasia is morally unacceptable and plays no current role in the debate over euthanasia in our modern society. Non-voluntary is a type of euthanasia that happens when a person becomes incapacitated due to being unconscious, comatose or in any other manner that makes the patient