The Right to Die - An ethical argument for the civil right of one to die either by suicide or physician assisted mercy killing

Essay by traceys67University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2009

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The Right to DieIt is a given in our society that individuals have the right to life. They have the right to fill their lives with opportunities to prosper, to love and to seek happiness. It is a right that is taken for granted and unquestioned because its ideal is one that does not require a person to dig deep into a pool of ethics. It is not a question marred with unpleasant factors such as pain, or finance, nor is it muddled with religious implications. The right to life is man's most fundamental civil right. Should it not follow, if man is free to pursue happiness and a life free of pain, that he should also be free to seek his own death on those same terms: free of pain, free of despair, and free of burdening loved ones with a financial nightmare?Euthanasia is one of the most divisive social-ethical concerns faced in the United States today.

Given the valid arguments from both the proponents and the opponents' points of view, it is often difficult to conclude which position one should take. Deliberately killing another person is presumed by most rational people as a fundamental evil act. However, when that person gives his or her consent to do so, this seems to give rise to an exceptional case.

There is an assortment of positions, based on various ethical theories that one can take to resolve this issue of euthanasia. With the intention of keeping this paper short, the positions explored will be based on "Utilitarianism" ethical theory and the "Categorical Imperative" ethical theory as espoused by Immanuel Kant. The paper will then be summed up with a personal point of view using reasonable logic unfettered by extreme applications.

Utilitarianism Ethical TheoryThe Utilitarianism view holds that euthanasia...