Illegal Active Euthanasia

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In this paper, I propose to put forward arguments about why I believe that active euthanasia should not be legalized. To do this I will look at countries where active euthanasia has been allowed and examine the dangers inherent in allowing the legalization of this practice. I will also examine individual cases where the patient or the family of the patient has attempted to persuade the court to allow active euthanasia including tracking such cases as Diane Pretty who took her case to the European Court of Human Rights and lost.The starting point for this discussion is to differentiate between active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia involves a member of the medical profession from administering a medication that would bring about the early death of the patient. By contrast, passive euthanasia is where a member of the medical profession stops the treatment of the patient. This could be by removing feeding tubes so that the patient starves to death or by the removal of ventilation equipment that assists the patient in breathing thereby causing the patient to die from lack of oxygen. The removal of essential drugs to combat infection could also be a form of passive euthanasia as the patient may die soon after the treatment is discontinued. The essential difference between the 2 forms of euthanasia is that with active euthanasia the doctor has to give the patient a form of treatment that will bring about their death whereas with passive euthanasia they are removing an element of the treatment that is sustaining life. The ethics behind the two is based on the principle that a patient is entitled to refuse treatment that might save or prolong their own life but they cannot insist on a treatment that will bring about their premature death.Having looked at the different forms of euthanasia discussed below are a number of reasons why I believe active euthanasia should remain illegal.