California Senate Bill 128, known as the Assisted Suicide bill passed on the Assembly floor Wednesday, Sept. 9, under its new name: AB2x15. SB 128, which was advocating for physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients in California, was pulled from the Assembly Health Committee in July this year, after it was clear that not enough votes were behind the bill to pass it in the 19-member committee.
AB X2 15, End of Life, will move to the California State Senate to be reviewed during a second extraordinary session on health care financing.
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The term ethics is derived from the Greek word “ethos” which means custom, habit, or character. Ethics is the study of morality; it involves reflecting on one’s moral standards or the moral standards of a group or a society, and asking whether they are reasonable. Ethics is very important for human life—our means of deciding a course of action—without it, our actions would be random and aimless, perhaps harmful.
There are two main traditions in modern philosophical ethics regarding how to determine the ethical character of actions. First is consequentialism, which bases morality on the consequences of human actions and not on the actions themselves. Consequentialism teaches people to do whatever produces the greatest amount of good consequences. The most common forms of consequentialism are the versions of utilitarianism, which favor actions that produce the greatest amount of happiness. Problems with consequentialism is that it does not provide a complete solution to all ethical problems; predicting and evaluating the consequences of actions are often very difficult when applying this theory. The second tradition is non-consequentialism—concerned with the actions themselves and not with the consequences. This theory shares that some acts are right or wrong in themselves, and people should act accordingly.
Another theory is Virtue ethics, which looks at virtues or moral characters, rather than ethical duties and rules or the consequences of actions.
Now Guidecounselors will apply these theories to one of today’s moral and social dilemma.
Euthanasia raises agonizing moral questions:
- Is it ever right for another person to end the life of a terminally ill patient who is in severe pain or enduring other suffering?
- If euthanasia is sometimes right, under what circumstances is it right?
- Is there any moral difference between killing someone and letting them die?