Why Euthanasia Should Be Legal

Derek Humphry Let me explain how I came to the subject of euthanasia. In 1974, my first wife, Jean, died of bone cancer. A thrombosis had set in, her bones had ruptured and she had lost control of her intestines. One day, after a very close confrontation with death, she sat in her hospital bed and said, “Will you help me die?” That`s when I discovered the subject of euthanasia; on the other side of my late wife`s hospital bed. The new law5 legalizes euthanasia and assisted suicide by including grounds of immunity in the penal code. Physicians are exempt from criminal liability if they report their actions and prove that they have met the requirements of “due diligence”.5 Female sex, having children, religiosity and a “pro-life” attitude are negatively associated with the view that euthanasia should be allowed “more than now.” In contrast, younger physicians (less than six years of experience in neonatal intensive care) and those who are “regular” in research are more likely to favour liberalization. Increasing age and experience can change a doctor`s attitude towards this sensitive topic. A cohort effect can also be suspected, with younger doctors taking a more liberal view due to the different period and social atmosphere in which they lived. The association with research may be related to the increased possibility of being exposed to ethical debate during scientific activities and through the literature. In the new law, the systematic intervention of the Public Prosecutor`s Office is replaced by evaluation by a regional professional body composed of a doctor, a lawyer and an ethicist. Only if the committee is of the opinion that the due diligence requirements have not been met will a report be provided to the judge. For the first time, the law also includes a provision for minors, who can now request and receive euthanasia between the ages of 12 and 15 with their parents` consent, even without it when they are older. The results of the two models are very similar.

Being a woman, considering religion important in one`s life, and having six or more years of experience in neonatal intensive care was associated with a lower likelihood of thinking that the law should be changed to allow active euthanasia “more than now.” In contrast, a higher attitude score (corresponding to a stronger approach to “quality of life”), absence of children, regular participation in research and, in the second model, having ever made or participated in a decision on active euthanasia increased the likelihood of being in favour of legal liberalization. The responses of Dutch doctors differed markedly from those of their European counterparts when the effect of other variables was taken into account. A similar comment applies to France, but only if the variable indicating the practice of euthanasia is not included in the analysis. However, no significant interaction between the earth and the practice of euthanasia was found. Sweden was confirmed as the country with the lowest support for legalizing euthanasia. This paper presents staff`s views on active euthanasia and its legal liberalization – i.e. whether or not the law should be changed in their country to allow active euthanasia “more than now”. In the terms used in the questionnaire, active euthanasia is defined as the administration of medication “for the purpose of ending the patient`s life.” “Data from places where euthanasia has been legalized, such as Oregon, suggests that the fears of these opponents of the law are largely unjustified anyway. The most significant vulnerability of many terminally ill people is excruciating, chronic, non-relieving pain. Because of MPs who voted against the bill, thousands of people in Britain will continue to endure this pain against their will.

That these MEPs describe their voices as protecting the weak is grotesque. Active euthanasia practised discreetly, although technically illegal, has been tolerated in the Netherlands for more than 30 years.3 Since 1994, thanks to a procedural amendment to the Funeral Act and the provision, it is no longer punishable if it is performed by a doctor according to certain criteria and reported to the Public Prosecutor`s Office.4 We are able to choose all kinds of things in the life of whom we think When you have reached the end In your life, whether you have an incurable illness or are older, you should have a choice of what happens to you. The law does not mention active euthanasia for newborns and infants, which remains illegal. In the Netherlands, however, deaths in newborns and infants preceded by deliberate administration of life-shortening drugs are known to occur, although rarely.6,7 The Dutch Children`s Society guidelines8 and some landmark court cases9 support this practice in exceptional circumstances. “Some babies are born with incurable diseases of such severity. that the only humane approach is to let the child die or even actively support his or her death,” says the report of a focus group set up by the Dutch ministries of health and justice. [10] However, it is unclear to what extent these guidelines would be supported by practising health professionals in the Netherlands and other countries. Let us now turn to the perspective of virtue. Virtue questions whether or not a euthanasia policy creates the right kind of doctor-patient relationship, and whether a euthanasia policy would create the right kind of community in which health care is provided.

The virtue perspective requires that the physician provide compassionate care within the limits of his or her role. The trust we place in the medical profession to heal and protect lives is something we want to maintain, and the perspective of virtue asks whether this type of trusting relationship would be strengthened or hindered if euthanasia became part of the options available to the physician. The virtue perspective sees us as a community of interdependent people in which we are partners with each other. He maintains the community of trust and benevolence by promising not to abandon anyone and trying to be realistic when it comes to accepting the limits of what it means to be human. We realize that life will not be free of suffering, that life will be stressful and that there will be tragedy.