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Law - Euthanasia

The laws that deal with the issue of euthanasia (physician assisted suicide) and self-induced suicide differ across country and state. The 'ethical right to decide the course of a person's own death' often does not include the right to end your life, but rather the right to withhold treatments, life supports, and the likes, (with the exception of Oregon in United States) that might prolong a person's life.

Do we think of laws as representing our best moral thinking, and so wouldn't it be getting the horse before the cart to have laws determine morality? Is this law morally right or wrong?

Solution Preview

The following statement is an interesting one, and is controversial, meaning that some people would argue that Oregon's law to allow physicians to prescribe a legal dose of drug for the patient to end their life is morally and ethically wrong. Others, like those who supported the bill, think otherwise. It is important to understand the laws are often a result of a social demand for change, so laws are about meeting the societies needs and requests of the time.

Let's look at each of your questions a bit closer.

STATEMENT: The laws that deal with the issue of euthanasia (physician assisted suicide) and self-induced suicide differ across country and state. The 'ethical right to decide the course of a person's own death' often does not include the right to end your life, but rather the right to withhold treatments, life supports, and the likes, (with the exception of Oregon in United States) that might prolong a person's life.

1. Do we think of laws as representing our best moral thinking, and so wouldn't it be getting the horse before the cart to have laws determine morality?

Who do you mean by "our"? This is important, because there are many different moral and ethical world views and theories that look at the same situation in a very different light. So, it is not so much that laws 'reflect our best moral thinking,' but instead they reflect the ...

Solution Summary

Regarding the laws of Euthanasia, this solution responds to the questions: Do we think of laws as representing our best moral thinking, and so wouldn't it be getting the horse before the cart to have laws determine morality? Is this law morally right or wrong?

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