Critically examine the ethical basis of justifying abortion and euthanasia. (150 W)

Mentor’s Comment:

Both the issues are critically controversial in the field of medical science. Terminating life is considered unethical and are morally wrong act, but there are certain circumstances for utilitarian cause such action can be made justifiable. Separately justify your argument on both the issues.

Refer the below source for hints:

Euthanasia: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/euthanasia/overview/introduction.shtml

Abortion: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/

 

Model Answer:

Euthanasia:

  • Euthanasia and abortion are controversial issues in medical ethics.
  • Euthanasia is  defined  as  the,  act  or  practice  of  painlessly  putting  to  death  or  withdrawing treatment  from  a  person  suffering  an  incurable    Euthanasia  is  intentionally  killing another  person  to  relieve  his  or  her  suffering.

Justification for euthanasia:

  1. It provides a way to relieve extreme pain. It provides a way of relief when a person’s quality of life is
  2. In a  democracy  a  person  has  the  right  to  decide  what  he  or  she  wishes  to  do  with  his  or her    If  treatment  is  unavailable  and  a  person  is  unable  to  bear  the  suffering,  then  it  is his  or  her  right  to  end  the  painful  life.
  3. Euthanasia can  save  life  of  many  other  people  by  donation  of  vital
  4. Self-determination is  one  of  the  key  elements  that  make  individual    It  is  the  ability to determine our destiny as individuals and is facilitated by our ability to think for ourselves. Euthanasia  provides  individual  a  chance  to  move  out  of  painful  life.
  • Whereas on  the  other  hand  Mercy  killing  is  morally  incorrect  and  should  be  forbidden  by law.  It  is  homicide  and  murdering  another  human  cannot  be  rationalized  under  any circumstances.
  • Euthanasia can be misused. Many psychiatrists are of the opinion that a terminally ill person or someone who is old and suffering from an incurable disease is often not in the right frame of mind to take a call. Such  a  person  deciding  to  die  may  not  be  a  rational
  • Family members deciding on behalf of the patient can also lead to abuse of the law legalizing euthanasia as it can be due to some personal interest.

Abortion:

  • Abortion is the deliberate termination of a pregnancy due to removing an embryo or fetus before it can survive outside the uterus. An abortion that occurs spontaneously is also known as a miscarriage. When deliberate steps are taken to end a pregnancy, it is called an induced abortion, or less frequently an “induced miscarriage”.

Justification for abortion:

  1. If a  pregnancy  puts  the  life  of  the  mother  at  risk,  then  we  should  consider  the  value  of  the fetus  compared  to  the  value  of  the  life  of  the mother.
  2. An unwanted child does not have a good life. If a mother has a child that she does not want then both she and the child may be greatly harmed; forcing the mother to continue with the pregnancy might  produce  a  child  with  little  chance  of  a  happy  life  for  itself  and  cause  the mother  much  suffering  as:
  • The mother  should  have  a  right  to  control  her  own  life,  at  least  to  the  extent  that  in  doing so  she  does  minimal  harm  to herself.
  • The right to abortion is vital for gender equality. The right to abortion is vital for individual women to achieve their full potential.
  • Banning abortion  puts  women  at  risk  by  forcing  them  to  use  illegal  methods  that  may  be more harmful.
  • But on  the  other  hand  the  right  to  life  should  always  outweigh  the  right  of  an  individual to  equality  or  to  control  their  own    It can be misused.
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