What notable differences do you see between the first two autobiographical readings, and the next two reading selections?
The first two autobiographical readings substantially differ from the next ones. To begin with, the first two readings concentrate on people’s subjective perceptions of their disabilities. These people do not try to make any generalizations in relation to others. They merely explain their own choices and personal position. The next two readings try to develop some universal approaches that may enable to solve the issues regarding euthanasia in an objective way. Second, the first two readings concentrate on the quality of life as the main criterion determining people’s willingness to continue living. The next two readings focus on religious, moral, and legal issues. They try to determine the objective basis for correct decisions in this sphere.
Even though, both, Chris Hill and Alison Davis consider their lives to be of low quality, they make different decisions. Chris Hill abandons his attempts to live and prefers dying as the current state of his health negatively affects “the very core of [his] masculinity” (p. 379). While, Alison Davis believes that she should not only continue living, but also defend the rights of other handicapped people (p. 335). The difference in their decisions can also be partially explained by the previous experiences of these people. Chris enjoyed a very active life, while Alison is familiar with these difficulties from her childhood. The Declaration on Euthanasia aims at discovering those principles that will help to serve people’s needs in accordance with the life of the Creator (p. 277).
Representatives of the medical profession should protect the “dignity of the human person and the Christian concept of life” (p. 276). The will of a person should be respected, but the maximum possible amount of social opportunities should be created. Pieter Admiraal stresses that a moral and legal boundary may be determined on the basis of people’s consent (p. 397). It serves as an objective criterion for the possibility of euthanasia.
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Do you believe that there is a morally relevant difference between killing a person and deliberately not saving him? Explain.
As the right to life is among the most fundamental and inalienable human rights, it should be respected by all people. No one should violate such rights of others. In this context, there is no substantial moral difference between killing and not saving an individual. The difference is only in the form of implementing this criminal plan. However, the moral implications are similar. The right to life is universal; hence, it is equally attributed to all people without any exception. If one kills another person, it shows that he/she does not recognize the rights of others. The same situation is present when another person is deliberately not saved.
This information is especially relevant in relation to healthcare professionals and other people directly responsible for saving others. As protecting the people's right to life is their professional and ethical duty, any violations of these regulations and norms cannot be tolerated under any conditions. Even if some conflicts exist between the given individuals, they should help each other in case of emergency. This respect to other people’s universal rights should be demonstrated in all situations regarding life protection of all people. Apart from that, all people should understand that not saving others leads to similar moral implications to killing them. In this way, the majority of people will become more responsible and will be oriented to the needs of others.
The abovementioned considerations are applicable only to the situations when a person does not demonstrate his/her desire or consent to die. For example, if a healthcare professional does not save a person when the latter asks for euthanasia, then there are no criminal actions in this situation. The aspect of an individual’s consent is also crucial in all similar cases.