The topic of euthanasia gives rise to a host of ethical questions including those regarding the quality of life, beneficence, and the responsibilities of physicians toward their patients. While there are many kinds of cases in which euthanasia may be considered, such as those involving severely handicapped newborns and patients with debilitating but not fatal conditions, this paper focuses on the situation of late-state terminally ill patients who are suffering and want active euthanasia as an option for ending their pain. This paper explains why, under such circumstances, voluntary active euthanasia may be ethically justified. Active and passive euthanasia are generally thought of as two separate phenomena, with the first involving the commission of an act that brings about death, and the second involving the omission of treatment that would prolong life. In addition to active and passive euthanasia, there is a third approach to euthanasia some view as a separate and distinct category. This approach is referred to as physician-assisted suicide. Physician-assisted suicide is similar to active euthanasia in that it involves a direct act intended to cause a patient's death. In active euthanasia, a doctor performs the act intended to cause death, while in physicianassisted suicide, the patient performs the final act.
Ethical Justifications for Voluntary Active Euthanasia,
Rich. J.L. & Pub. Int.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolpi/vol3/iss1/6