Describe the moral difference between active and passive euthanasia.
The major moral difference between active and passive euthanasia is the difference between committing an action and neglecting to commit an action. Some would argue that this is an important difference.
In active euthanasia, a doctor or other person must act to end the person’s life. Drugs must typically be administered. The person would live but for the doctor’s action. By contrast, in passive euthanasia, the person dies because the doctor does not act. The person would only live if the doctor intervened.
The moral difference here, one could argue, is that in one case the doctor is taking an action and in the other, the doctor is simply refraining from acting. We have a moral duty not to take actions that would kill others. But it is less clear that we have a moral duty to take actions to prevent a natural death.
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