Such a putting to death of another in such a situation is what is referred to as a "mercy killing." The suggestion, of course, is that those who would disagree with such an action or protest against it are people without mercy. The argument here is that this is a false characterization of those against euthanasia. Focusing only on the immediate suffering of the individual is a tactic of those in favor of euthanasia which eliminates other practical and larger moral concerns. For example, it ignores the possibility of other ways to relieve suffering without having to take the life of the patient. It also ignores the larger moral problem which follows when and if euthanasia were to become legalized and widely applied. Once the moral line of allowing euthanasia to take place is crossed, it will be difficult to stop the flood of "mercy killings" which will ensue.
Also, there is the problem of differentiating between the two "types" of euthanasia:
. . . By "passive euthanasia," [authors] mean the withdrawal of life supports from patients when such supports are no longer beneficial but harmful (Ashley and O'Rourke 417).
However, such a definition is vague and open to many interpretations, as Ashley and O'Rourke note. Instead, they write,
it is better to avoid such language and to follow the definition used by the Congregation for the Doctrine of