Issues regarding death are incredibly complicated and involve topics that are often difficult to discuss. In this essay, I will argue that active euthanasia is morally and ethically permissible in instances involving consenting terminally ill patients. Using an act-utilitarian approach, I contend that voluntary active euthanasia should be seen as a viable option due to its potential to reduce the total pain and suffering in an end-of-life scenario for both the patient and the patient’s loved ones. Though passive euthanasia is widely considered to be morally superior to active euthanasia, I argue that voluntary active euthanasia has the potential to do more good than passive euthanasia can in certain scenarios and as such, each should have equal viability depending on the details of the case. Additionally, I discuss the ethical equivalency between voluntary active euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, a procedure that is beginning to gain credibility in some of the more liberal areas of the United States and Europe. Additionally, in the event that a patient desires to end their life but cannot partake in physician assisted suicide, I contend that voluntary active euthanasia is likely the most ethical solution. Based on an act-utilitarian analysis of positive and negative consequences, I propose that voluntary active euthanasia be considered as a viable option for the treatment of terminally-ill patients.



Publication Place

Tacoma, Washington


The University of Puget Sound