Living with euthanasia: the ethical imperative of providing alternatives

Mar 28, 2023 by

By Margaret Somerville, Mercatornet.

If, like me, you argued that legalising euthanasia was a very dangerous and unwise idea, you lost the battle to prevent its legalisation in Canada as the euphemistically labelled “Medical Assistance in Dying” (or MAiD) law, and, most recently, in all the Australian states as the “Voluntary Assisted Dying” (or VAD) laws.

These ordinary sounding acronyms are neither neutral nor accidental. They suppress our moral intuitions about what these interventions involve: namely, physicians, and, in Canada and some Australian states, nurse practitioners, intentionally inflicting death on their patients – stated more bluntly, killing them. That results in the normalisation of euthanasia.

I will use the word “euthanasia” for both MAiD and VAD, and, except where otherwise indicated, both euthanasia strictly so-called (i.e. a lethal injection) and physician-assisted suicide (in which the physician provides the patient with a lethal medication to self-administer). Normalisation has occurred at “warp speed” in Canada, but it is too early to assess that phenomenon in Australia. Euthanasia becomes just another way to die, as the Canadian statistics demonstrate so powerfully.

Read here.

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