Relativism And Utilitarianism Assignment – Assignment Example

The moral issue in the case is whether it is morally right to decide on discontinuing a life support program for someone in a PVS condition. Can man really decide when a person should die since there is no hope of recovery? I would argue for a Rights Based Theory that declares “people have a right to live”. The UN Universal Declaration has declared in its Article 3 that “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person”. This is a basic human right that Michael should have respected from the very beginning. It was clear that Terri did not leave any living will so it would be presumptuous to base her desires on Michel’s interpretation. Besides, Terri’s parents were very supportive of prolonging her feeding tubes which is an expression of how parent’s love their children by bearing the suffering. While it is true that Michael is a victim of unverifiable facts such as being an “abusive husband”, he could have at least respected the wishes of Terri’s parents. I would not question Michael’s deep concern to end Terri’s suffering but there is no way of telling what Terri was really going through at all. Even Pearse was not right in presuming that Michael was interested in Terri’s inheritance since that is a very biased perception. If Terri was penniless, what would be the argument against Michael?
An opposing view to my Rights-Based argument is the Utilitarian Theory. This theory can be used to argue that the moral worth of the action ( disconnecting life-support) brings happiness or pleasure to sentient beings ( Bentham, 1789). If Terri’s life would be ended, it is possible that Terri herself agreed to this idea since this brings her to peace. This is actually what her husband was fighting for- the belief that Terri herself would be happy with the decision to end her life that is attached to a machine.
Article 3.Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations.
Bentham ,J. (1789) An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation.