Similarities Between Euthanasia And Utilitarianism

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Utilitarianism and Euthanasia Perhaps one of the most debated topics in the medical and political professions is euthanasia. One of the most common practices of euthanasia today is active neonatal euthanasia, which involves the use of opioids or sedatives to end the life of a mentally or physically disabled fetus (Eijnden & Martinovici, 2013, p. 75). Another more recognized form of euthanasia involves “reducing the populations of the poor, the elderly, and the disabled [which people think] is modern, scientific, moral, and progressive” (Ummel, 2016, p. 396). According to the utilitarian ethical system, euthanasia is acceptable and even moral, as it creates happiness for the majority of people. The topic of euthanasia is highly contested,…show more content…
In this system, if something causes pleasure for the largest number of people, then it is considered ethical (Stewart, Blocker, & Petrik, 2013). While people may think that there is no standard in this system, “The utilitarian, nonetheless, does believe in the universality of moral standards in the sense that everyone must, in all circumstances, do what produces the most happiness for the largest number of people” (Stewart et al., 2013, p. 243). Additionally, the utilitarian view holds that a person can be treated as a means to an end, whereas other systems of ethics state that a person is never to be treated in this manner, since all people have rights (Stewart et al., 2013, p. 251). The utilitarian system of ethics tends to base an action’s morality on the consequences of that action (Stewart et al., 2013, p. 293). Each act must be determined according to the circumstances; this tends to create some inconsistency, as an action that is considered ethical in one situation may not be considered ethical in another situation. Regarding moral obligations, “If we ought to do what we do, then moral philosophy offers nothing that obliges us to act in one way rather than another. Whatever we do would turn out to be what we ought to have done” (Stewart et al., 2013, p.…show more content…
Also, it is nearly impossible to estimate how many people have been euthanized because of disabilities, old age, or economic status, though it is estimated that the Nazis euthanatized approximately “seventy-five percent of the patients in mental health facilities” (Ummel, 2016, p. 393). While the utilitarian system of ethics may have an appeal to Christians, since this system seeks to maximize the happiness of the majority of the population, Christians must reject this view, because God is the standard of all ethics. Since He is unchanging, His system of ethics is also unchanging, and what is true in one circumstance is true in all
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