November 23, 2009
Euthanasia-highlights issues about the difference between doing/allowing and
Sue Rodriguez-ALS-infringed on her rights to make decisions on her own body, the law
as upheld, she was assisted to end her life; no one was prosecuted because it was
done in secret.
Robert Latimer-killed his daughter with carbon monoxide, was convicted of second
degree murder, he was motivated by a concern for his daughter’s life and her best
-concerned with an alleged moral difference between active and passive euthanasia, a
difference between doing/allowing
-it is permissible to withhold treatment, but it is never permissible to take direct action
designed to kill the patient
Euthanasia-a good death, a death that is brought about either actively or passively
because it is thought to be in the patient’s best interest
Familiar case-someone with a terminal disease, going to die shortly, the disease is
painful and can’t be treated with medication, you bring about their death in order to
spare them that pain
Nazi-Euthanasia program-was not a euthanasia program
Voluntary-with a patients request ex. Sue Rodriguez
Involuntary-because you think it’s in the patient’s interest without the patient’s consent
Main argument of Rachel’s-there is no moral difference between active and passive
euthanasia, it is a mistake to think that active euthanasia is forbidden and passive is
-can either say both are permitted or both are forbidden
Rachel’s thinks that they are both permitted. His judgment depends on the idea that
when euthanasia will reduce suffering then it is a preferred moral choice. His argument
is like Singer’s-utilitarian argument. 113-Rachels is a utilitarian-if one simply withholds treatment it may take the patient
longer to die, then if a lethal injection was given. Active euthanasia is preferable to
passive euthanasia because less suffering will occur.
Attack of the doing/allowing distinction-Smith/Jones example
Rachels says-if the distinction between doing/allowing is important, then there would be
a moral difference between Smith’s actions and Jones actions. Their actions are equally
wrong, the distinction here makes no difference.
Distinction between intending/foreseeing-when Smith goes up and holds the cousin’s
head under the water, he is intending the death as a means to getting the money. When
Jones goes up and doesn’t save the cousin he is still intending.
-applies it to a medical practice involving babies with down-syndrome
Steinbock-is Rachels right that the AMA policy favors that choice?
Rachels is misreading the AMA policy, there are two reasons why letting the babies
wither and die is not consistent with that policy, it is not a case of the cessation of
treatment that they think is permissible.
-you need irrefutable evidence that death is imminent no matter what you do
The downs babies will not die soon no matter what you do in that case. If you perform