• active euthanasia.
  • Active Euthanasia Law & Legal Definition
  • What is active euthanasia

This form of euthanasia is endorsed by the American Medical Association and is less controversial than active euthanasia.

"Active and Passive Euthanasia." Reserved reading for Philosophy 203.

There are two kinds of euthanasia one being active the other passive.

Many people make a moral distinction between active and passive euthanasia.
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The distinction between active and passive euthanasia is notnearly as clear as the previous distinction. Although many authorsclaim that the difference between the two types cannot be identifiedor is irrelevant at best, much of the debate on the subject isover this distinction and most of the current legal issues turnon this distinction. While this paper will contend that the differencebetween the two should not be recognized, it is both useful andimportant to know where the line is drawn. The AMA, which is stronglyopposed to active euthanasia, has seen fit to endorse passiveeuthanasia in appropriate situations. The Council on Ethical andJudicial Affairs makes the distinction as follows:

There are two types of euthanasia, active and passive....

If euthanasia were legal, how would people think of doctors who practiced this form of homicide.
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It is the support that the courts have given to passive euthanasiathat provides the basis for a second and perhaps the most crucialargument. This is the argument that the passive/active distinctionmade by the courts and the medical profession is invalid, cannotbe made, and in actuality does not exist. If it can be proventhat this distinction is invalid, then all of the rights thatallow for passive euthanasia would then allow active euthanasiaas well. Advocates present a variety of different reasons forwhy the active/passive "bright line" cannot exist.


BBC - Ethics - Euthanasia: Active and passive euthanasia

s policy on euthanasia, passive euthanasia is allowed but active euthanasia is not.
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"Euthanasia is the intentional killing by act or omission of one whose life is deemed not worth living" David Atkinson and David Field, New dictionary of Christian ethics and pastoral theology.

In active euthanasia, the motive is the same, to save the patient from his/her sufferings.
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"The Nazi's hid their racist, eugenic agenda behind theterm 'euthanasia,' terminating in secret the lives of 'undesirables.'It must never be forgotten that the Nazi 'euthanasia' programwas never euthanasia at all. That the Nazi's co-opted the termfor their own purposes should not obscure the fact that theirmotive was, from the very beginning, entirely different from thatof today's euthanasia proponents. The current euthanasia movementis anything but covert. The Hemlock Society and other supportersof the right to receive aid in dying have spent millions of dollarsto publicize their efforts. In this context, death is presentedas a positive alternative to pain and suffering, not a utilitariantool."

Proponentsof euthanasia also attempt to refute the slippery slope argumentin a variety of other ways. They contend that the current mechanismsused by the courts could easily prevent any slide toward involuntaryeuthanasia, that the currentpractice of passive euthanasia proves that the slope isn't allthat slippery since we haven't witnessed any massive killing programs,and that the example of how forced sterilization in the U.S. hasdiminished rather than increased, provides a more appropriateexample to rely on. Even Callahan (1989), a vocal opponent ofactive euthanasia, admits that the Nazi experience is not particularlyapplicable to the U.S. experience and that "Lives are notbeing shortened. They are steadily being lengthened, and particularlyfor those who are the most powerless: sick children and the veryold, the mentally and mentally retarded, the disabled and thedemented" (p. 4).

Active euthanasia legal definition of active euthanasia

"Once society accepts that life can be terminated becauseof its diminished quality, there is no rational way to limit euthanasiaand prevent its abuse. According to this theory, voluntary euthanasiais just the thin edge of a wedge that, once in place, will bedriven deeply into our society. Kamisar concludes that legalizedvoluntary euthanasia inevitably would lead to legalized involuntaryeuthanasia because it is impossible to draw a rational distinctionbetween those who seek to die because they are a burden to themselvesand those whom society seeks to kill because they are a burdento others." (Wolhandler,p. 377)

Manywho raise the "wedge" or "slippery slope"argument use the Nazi experience with euthanasia as an empiricalexample of this process in action. They argue that a public policyof murder inexorably follows from an initial, limited step, namelythe adoption of a carefully defined euthanasia program, and thata program designed to get rid of those with "lives unworthyof life" quickly degenerated into the holocaust (Newman,p. 167). What follows is a description of the Nazi euthanasiaprogram excerpted from Lifton's (1986) book:

Definition of Active euthanasia - MedicineNet

The idea is that instead of condemning someone to a slow, painful, and undignified death, euthanasia would allow the patient to experience a relatively good death.” The technical definition of euthanasia is the act of ending life painlessly, often someone suffering from an incurable illness....

Is There a Difference Between Passive and Active Euthanasia?

Once euthanasia becomes legal, opponents contend, the potentialfor abuse at the hands of caregivers vastly increases. Closelyrelated to this argument is the argument that those who enjoythe exercise of power over others might become intoxicated withit and actually come to enjoy killing.