Active Euthanasia Essay

1137 Words 5 Pages
James Rachels thesis explains his views on both active and passive euthanasia and how both are considered morally indifferent. Rachels talks about autonomy, the right of a patient to choose active euthanasia, and the patient's right to make a fully informed decision on whether to remove life sustaining support or not. Rachels main argument in his thesis is the ability to choose active euthanasia under conditions where passive euthanasia is morally permissible, but the patient wants active euthanasia. The idea of the patient making his or her own decisions on active vs. passive euthanasia is the most important factor. His first argument justifies passive euthanasia and he only justifies active euthanasia when the patient prefers the active method. …show more content…
To demonstrate this theory he uses the “Smith and Jones” case as an experiment on active and passive euthanasia being morally indifferent. In this case, both Smith and Jones have inheritance they will gain if their 6-year-old cousin dies. In order to gain the inheritance Smith waits until his cousin takes a bath sneaks in and drowns the child. Jones chooses to wait until his cousin takes a bath, sneaks in, but he watches the child slip, hit their head and fall face first into the water. Instead of Jones trying to save his cousin’s life, he stands by waiting to push his head back underwater if he resurfaces. While Jones is watching and waiting his cousin drowns face first in the water. Both Smith and Jones are there when the child dies, but Smith directly kills his cousin and Jones lets his cousin die. Rachels theory states that both Smith and Jones are equally to blame for the death of their cousin, because the intention and the result were the same. They both wanted to gain the inheritance money and both allowed the child to die. Rachels point is that by killing or letting the child die the outcome is the same and neither option is better. Both sides were morally wrong and both parties are to blame because they had something to gain from the child’s

Related Documents