Physician Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Active- Euthanasia: A Closer Look

Essay by UjayUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, April 2007

download word file, 10 pages 4.5

Physician Assisted Suicide and Voluntary Active Euthanasia: A Closer Look


In this essay, I will first argue that physician assisted suicide (PAS) is morally easier to defend than voluntary active euthanasia (VAE), maintaining the view that the patient must take full responsibility for his/her actions if he/she has the capacity to do so. I will also show that there is little difference (although there is one) between PAS and VAE, and how the effects of linguistic impression divide the two, and why both, in my opinion, should be legalized (although VAE must only be in used in cases where the patient is so debilitated that PAS does not apply) . I will do this by showing how the positive arguments outweigh the negative consequences. I shall also, while addressing the negative consequences, counter the slippery slope arguments employed by those who do not share my stance on this issue.

It would also be prudent to mention that my understanding of this debate has been formed primarily by the understanding and following (or attempting to follow) the line of reasoning given in the articles - 'Voluntary Active Euthanasia' by Dan W. Brock and 'Physician-Assisted Suicide - A Tragic View' by John D. Arras.


I will first begin by defining Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide and explain the similarities and differences, to give the reader a very clear understanding of the terms. In doing so, I shall employ two arguments (involving linguistic impression) to explain there is no difference between active and passive euthanasia and almost no difference between VAE and PAS (although there is one). In my final third argument, I shall address why PAS is easier to defend morally than VAE, and why VAE should only be performed where PAS is not applicable. Then I...