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Margaret Battin Euthanasia Fundamental Issues Summary

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In Margaret Battin’s article, ‘Euthanasia: The Fundamental Issues’, she argues for the right of a painless killing for those suffering from medical conditions. She suggests that there are three moral principles: mercy, autonomy, and justice, which favor the legalization of this practice. Battin’s arguments will then be critiqued further by issues such as the Hippocratic Oath and physician’s abuse in power. This paper will conclude that moral justification for euthanasia on the same grounds of mercy, autonomy and justice cannot be reached.
Active euthanasia involves directly stopping bodily processes that otherwise would have been capable of sustaining life, providing direct help for the patient to die (Battin, 321). Unlike passive euthanasia, which is the act of allowing the patient to die
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Battin first addresses the issue of the physician’s Hippocratic Oath. It states to do no harm, however, the principle of mercy establishes that doctors should also not cause further pain or suffering to their patients, and should act to end pain or suffering if it is already occurring (Battin, 322). Showing mercy to a patient may also mean refraining from procedures (tests, therapies, or surgical procedures) that could cause further misery without an improvement or a cure (Battin, 322). If the treatment is painful and there is very little possibility that it will provide life after that is pain-free, treatment is withheld. Mercy demands that the treatments no longer be prescribed, and that the patient be allowed to die (Battin, 323). This is seen quite commonly in burn victims, where the procedures do not guarantee recovery, and in most cases the patient will die whether or not the treatments are done (Battin, 322). Nevertheless, some situations may also demand a more direct way of reducing pain through active euthanasia. An argument against Battin debates that euthanasia use to be needed in the past, but due to modern medical technology and the

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