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WHAT IS DOUBLE EFFECT ?

WHAT IS DOUBLE EFFECT ?

This set of criteria states that an action having foreseen harmful effects practically inseparable from the good effect is justifiable if the following are true:

  • the nature of the act is itself good, or at least morally neutral;
  • the agent intends the good effect and does not intend the bad effect either as a means to the good or as an end in itself;
  • the good effect outweighs the bad effect in circumstances sufficiently grave to justify causing the bad effect and the agent exercises due diligence to minimize the harm.

EXAMPLES IN MEDICINE:

  • The principle of double effect is frequently cited in cases of pregnancy and abortion. A doctor who believes abortion is always morally wrong may still remove the uterus or fallopian tubes of a pregnant woman, knowing the procedure will cause the death of the embryo or fetus, in cases in which the woman is certain to die without the procedure (examples cited include aggressive uterine cancer and ectopic pregnancy).
  • In these cases, the intended effect is to save the woman’s life, not to terminate the pregnancy, and the effect of not performing the procedure would result in the greater evil of the death of both the mother and the fetus.
  • In cases of terminally ill patients who would hasten their deaths because of unbearable pain, or whose caregivers would do so for them (euthanasia,medical aid in dying,etc.),a principle of “double effect death” could be applied to justify the deliberate administration of a pain-killer in potentially unsafe doses—not in an attempt to end life but to relieve the pain suffered as it is considered harmful to the patient. The U.S. Supreme Court has voiced support for this principle in its deliberations over the constitutionality of medical aid in dying.

ALSO READ : https://www.brainyias.com/bio-medical-ethics-abortion-and-euthanasia/

ETHICS LECTURES

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