|Please review the case below entitled “A Child’s Right to Die” and address the following questions:|
1. Identify the ethical issue(s) in the case, and be sure to explain why it is an ethical issue. (Most often there is some degree of harm or benefit involved.)
2. Explain what a virtue ethicist would recommend as the right thing to do in this case and why. Then explain what you think are the strengths and weaknesses of this advice.
3. Explain what an act or rule utilitarian (pick one) would recommend as the right thing to do in this case and why. Then explain what you think are the strengths and weaknesses of this advice.
4. Explain what you think a Kantian duty ethicist would recommend as the right thing to do in this case and why. Then explain what you think are the strengths and weaknesses of this advice.
5. Explain what you think is the right thing to do in this case and justify your decision by either referring to some or all of the ethical theories, or by coming up with a justification of your own that may be a mix of the theories or simply your very own moral point of view. Be sure to follow step by step the “ABCD’s of Ethical Decision-Making: A Brief Guide” (See Sakai, Weekly Sessions, Week 1 – READINGS: ABCD’s of Ethical Decision-Making; A Brief Guide.)
6. MAKE SURE YOU SUPPORT YOUR POSITION WITH OUR CLASS READINGS / ETHICAL THEORIE(S)!! Assume your readers know nothing about ethical theories when writing your paper, so please inform them and support your position using our class readings. THERE IS NO NEED TO FIND SOURCES OUTSIDE OF OUR CLASS READINGS!!
The Individual Assignment is a case analysis written in an essay format. This paper is worth 10% of your final grade. I am not too picking on the style the paper is created in, but I have a preference for APA.
For information on APA, Purdue University has a nice tutorial at: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/
I will be looking for the following criteria to be met:
That the paper does not exceed 5 double spaced pages and it is at least a minimum of 3 pages long, not counting cover or reference pages.
Protestors argue that children simply cannot make such difficult decisions and that modern medicine can alleviate much of an ill child’s pain. As one newspaper put it, “Belgium has allowed the killing on demand of terminally ill children and has headed for the ethical abyss. A state which allows something like this is a failing state.”39 Religious leaders believe the law is immoral: “The law says adolescents cannot make important decisions on economic or emotional issues, but suddenly they’ve become able to decide that someone should make them die,” one Belgian archbishop commented.40 And backlash has been especially harsh abroad: for example, the chairman of Forbes Media went so far as to suggest that allowing euthanasia for children would put us “on the malignantly slippery slope to becoming a society like that envisioned by Nazi Germany, one in which ‘undesirables’ are disposed of like used tissue.”41
Protestors point to stories like that of Godelieva De Troyer to support their opposition. De Troyer died two years ago. She was 64 years old and in perfect physical health. She was also severely depressed. She emailed her son, Dr. Tom Mortier, to tell him she was looking into euthanasia. He assumed that her doctors would never allow it because she was not physically ill. But only three months after her email, Dr. Mortier got a call at work informing him that his mother had been euthanized. He was completely enraged, and has since become an outspoken critic of Belgium’s euthanasia law. “This is suicide with the approval of society,” he believes.42 Allowing children to also choose euthanasia would only allow for more abuse.
Despite this vehement opposition, the law is widely supported in Belgium. Supporters assert that it would only apply in an extremely small number of cases and that each child would have to be very clear about his or her wish to die. Indeed, only five children have requested euthanasia in the Netherlands since 2002.43 As one Belgian Senator has noted, “What is scandalous is the suffering of sick children when they are going to die.”44
Supporters point to stories like that of Danny Bond. Bond was born with a bowel disease that caused him excruciating pain. At thirteen years old, he started talking about killing himself. Indeed, he did try to kill himself three times. When his mother resuscitated him after his third suicide attempt, he told her that she had let him down by saving him. His condition worsened shortly after he turned twenty-one, and he told his parents that he wanted to die and that he wanted their help. But they knew that assisting him would be a crime. Ultimately, he starved himself to death and asked his parents to stay by his bedside to make sure that his doctors did not treat him. “All he wanted was the privilege to be given an injection that would kill him instantly in seconds, and I had to watch him die in days,” his mother lamented.45
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