An Argument for the Legalization of Active Euthanasia

Stephen Orlando, Providence College


Throughout history, the American legal system has implicitly and explicitly forbidden the practice of active euthanasia by doctors. Many of the arguments against active euthanasia are worthy of consideration, and shall be discussed and analyzed in detail throughout the context of this essay. These arguments deal with concerns about the effect of active euthanasia on the medical community, the fear of a slippery slope towards “convenience killing,” and the prior legal precedent prohibiting the practice of active euthanasia. In opposition to these concerns, I argue that there is both legal justification and a moral obligation to legalize the practice of active euthanasia. As I will show, a number of Supreme Court cases provide the legal justification for legalizing active euthanasia in the United States. I will argue furthermore that the ethical obligation to promote a merciful and compassionate society further compels the legalization of active euthanasia in America.