Ethical Issues And Dilemmas In Society

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Imagine yourself being unable to walk, unable to see, unable to breath let alone speak. You can’t even scratch an itch. But the worst part of all this, is you still feel sensations of pain, hunger, loneliness and fear, yet you’re unable to react. The topic of euthanasia is one that is cloaked with much ethical deliberation and ambiguity. Numerous forms of euthanasia are recognised, primarily active voluntary euthanasia, assisted suicide and physician- assisted suicide elicit the most controversy. Broadly speaking, euthanasia comes from the meaning ‘good death’, it is the practise of assisted suicide with the intention of relieving pain and suffering. Reflecting the status quo of most countries, it is currently illegal in the majority of Australian Sates due to the ethical dilemma it brings about. It poses as a difficult choice where several courses of action could be taken, however, either of which may entail transgressing a moral principle. Advocates for euthanasia argue people have a right to make their own decisions regarding death in order to alleviate pain and suffering, in contrast there are the antithesis which argue for the sanctity of life and offer a healthier alternative, this being palliative care.

The dispute in Australia society concerning the ethical issue of euthanasia has seen an assortment of stances voiced by both religious and non-religious persons and groups. Taking the religious outlook, Pope John Paul II asserted that ‘euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human life’. Evidently, the Roman Catholic Church regards euthanasia as morally improper. Through teachings and scriptures, the Church has always placed a notable emphasis on the absolute and unchanging value of the commandment “you shall not kill”. The Church continues to preach the fact that nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being. Pope John Pall II spoke out against what he labels as a ‘culture of death’ in contemporary society. Followed by stating that ‘human beings should always prefer the way of life to the way of death’. Instead he suggested that palliative care should be the viable option. This form of care helps people live their life as fully and as contentedly as possible when living with a life-limiting or terminal illness. Palliative care identifies and treats symptoms which may entail physical, emotional, spiritual or social trauma. Contrastingly, other secular organisations who quarrel with the current law, like The World Federation of Right to Die or Dying with Dignity who pursue the change in the law to enhance choice at the end of life. They seek legislation that enables competent adults experiencing ceaseless suffering from a terminal or incurable illness, to receive medical assistance to end their life peacefully, at the time of their choosing. A well-renowned pro-euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke is additionally an individual who has strong beliefs regarding the topic, on April 29th 2009 Nitschke voiced his somewhat provocative opinion, saying: ‘it seems we demand humans to live with indignity, pain and anguish whereas we are kinder to our pets when their suffering becomes too much. It simply is not logical or mature. Trouble is, we have had too many centuries of religious nonsense’. Regaining an insight into the adverse ideals of the secular organisations which promote choice, dignity and contrasting it to that of those who take a more religious perspective, we detect that there is a significant disparity.

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With the continually rising ethical issues, subsists methods of ethical decision-making which help us identify problems, then further examine, evaluate and resolve issues that have recently surfaced. A common example of an ethical decision-making method is moral relativism, this being viewing morals as entirely relative to different societies and contexts (no moral absolutes). Consequently, whether an act is right can be contingent on the context (such as culture) in which it takes place. Contrastingly, to religious traditions like Catholicism who are absolute, meaning they apply to all people, irrespective of individuals personal beliefs and values or those of the society they belong to. A disadvantage of moral relativism is that truth, right and wrong and justice aren’t all accounted for. Just because a group of people believe that something is just does not make it so. Though relativism is contemplated to be a ‘simple theory’ that respects the ethics of other cultures, it has the potential to lead to everyone’s views being seems as equal, inevitably stimulating a problem when evaluating the morality behind particular proceedings. In terms of euthanasia, moral relativism upholds the idea that individuals are allowed to have their own desires and ultimately gives them responsibility for their own actions. Moral relativism, in this case would be based on pro-choice, saying their choice should be based on the person and their individual ideals. However, they also argue for situationism, this suggesting that human behaviour can be determined by surrounding circumstances rather than by one’s personal qualities. To reiterate, moral relativists can take either the for or against approach to euthanasia depending on the given situation, this may consist of, the time and place it takes place, the people involves, the seriousness of the illness NOT on whether the outcome should be the same for everyone thus, disregarding their own wishes.

The deliberate act taken with the purpose of ending a life, in order to relieve tenacious pain, known as Euthanasia is an ethical deliberation continually argued about to this day. The issue stimulates ethical and moral viewpoint from several different perspectives, however the sanctity of life is inimitable and an authentic gift from God. Life is a beautiful, miraculous gift that needs to be savoured. This being said, making people ensure immeasurable pain against their wishes violates personal freedoms, ergo making it immoral to compel people to continue to live a life they don’t want to. Despite this blunt statement, it conveys the harsh reality of the situation. I believe situation is an influence needing to be factored into the decisions made, this is because different people have different experiences and different levels of severity.

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Ethical Issues And Dilemmas In Society. (2022, Jun 09). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 12, 2024, from
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