Active Euthanasia: Physician Assisted Suicide is Wrong Essay

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Active Euthanasia: Physician Assisted Suicide is Wrong The issue at hand is whether physician-assisted suicide should be legalized for patients who are terminally ill and/or enduring prolonged suffering. In this debate, the choice of terms is central. The most common term, euthanasia, comes from the Greek words meaning "good death." Sidney Hook calls it "voluntary euthanasia," and Daniel C. Maguire calls it "death by choice," but John Leo calls it "cozy little homicides." Eileen Doyle points out the dangers of a popular term, "quality-of-life." The choice of terms may serve to conceal, or to enhance, the basic fact that euthanasia ends a human life. Different authors choose different terms, depending on which side of the issue…show more content…
It is not murder, and it is not suicide. It is not emotionally loaded at all. In real life, however, the question of euthanasia is, and should be, filled with emotion. Maguire acknowledges the argument that acceptance of the practice of euthanasia could lead society down the path toward the "mass murder of physically and mentally defective persons" (p. 449). He argues, however, that the specific case under examination is "drastic," and our behavior in a "drastic" case cannot be generalized to our behavior in normal situations. In fact, if we keep that particular defective child alive, then we are defining our terms wrongly. We are committing the "error of interpreting the sanctity of life in merely physical terms" (p. 449). First, he uses the example of a fetus, which is not yet a person, but which is capable of becoming a person. This image is followed by a transition, at the end of the tenth paragraph, to his next idea, which is that life might sometimes "be terminated when other sacred values outweigh its claims to life in a conflict situation" (p. 449). Maguire's idea of the correct definition of "the sanctity of life," in the eleventh paragraph, is a "generic notion" that fails to take account of "sacred human dignity," and he proposes that "the sanctity of death might here take precedence over a physicalist interpretation of the sanctity of life" (pp. 449-450). In other words, he is offering new terms that reverse the old terminology. The
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