Someone who makes a request for euthanasia is likely to have a bad quality of life (or a bad prognosis, even if they are not yet suffering much) and the knowledge that this will only get worse. If that is the case, death will not deprive them of an otherwise pleasant existence.
Thirdly, there is the manipulability worry mentioned before withrespect to agent-centered versions of deontology. To the extentpotential conflict is eliminated by resort to the Doctrine of DoubleEffect, the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, and so forth (and it isnot clear to what extent patient-centered versions rely on thesedoctrines and distinctions to mitigate potential conflict), then apotential for “avoision” is opened up. Such avoision isthe manipulation of means (using omissions, foresight, risk,allowings, aidings, acceleratings, redirectings, etc.) to achievepermissibly what otherwise deontological morality would forbid (seeKatz 1996). Avoision is an undesirable feature of any ethical systemthat allows such strategic manipulation of its doctrines.
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Euthanasia is simply mercy killing while the phrase “physician-assisted suicide” regards the administering or the provision of lethal means to aid in the ending of a person’s life.
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Secular opponents argue that whatever rights we have are limited by our obligations. The decision to die by euthanasia will affect other people - our family and friends, and healthcare professionals - and we must balance the consequences for them (guilt, grief, anger) against our rights.
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The word deontology derives from the Greek words for duty(deon) and science (or study) of (logos). Incontemporary moral philosophy, deontology is one of those kinds ofnormative theories regarding which choices are morally required,forbidden, or permitted. In other words, deontology falls within thedomain of moral theories that guide and assess our choices of what weought to do (deontic theories), in contrast to those that guide andassess what kind of person we are and should be (aretaic [virtue]theories). And within the domain of moral theories that assess ourchoices, deontologists—those who subscribe to deontologicaltheories of morality—stand in opposition toconsequentialists.
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Because deontological theories are best understood in contrast toconsequentialist ones, a brief look at consequentialism and a surveyof the problems with it that motivate its deontological opponents,provides a helpful prelude to taking up deontological theoriesthemselves. Consequentialists hold that choices—acts and/orintentions—are to be morally assessed solely by the states ofaffairs they bring about. Consequentialists thus must specifyinitially the states of affairs that are intrinsicallyvaluable—often called, collectively, “the Good.”They then are in a position to assert that whatever choices increasethe Good, that is, bring about more of it, are the choices that it ismorally right to make and to execute. (The Good in that sense is saidto be prior to “the Right.”)
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Euthanasia opponents further point out that there is a moral difference between decriminalising something, often for practical reasons like those mentioned above, and encouraging it.