Frequently the euthanasia debate is set up in terms of the religious (anti) and non-religious (pro). The following article sets out 7 common pro-euthanasia arguments and then gives ‘non-religious’ replies to them. It also reviews the ethical arguments and the empirical evidence from the Netherlands and Oregon. A very stimulating read.
[The media’s] coverage of the issue (physician assisted suicide-euthanasia) often consists of milking viewers’ emotions in favour of decriminalization and implying that any opposition must rest solely on religious belief, particularly of a “fundamentalist” stripe.
This paper aims to promote a more accurate and informed understanding of the issues. It sets out seven arguments which are commonly advanced by advocates of decriminalization and offers corresponding counter-arguments. The arguments for decriminalization undoubtedly merit a reply. However, as will become apparent, cogent replies are available. Moreover, these replies need rest on no religious basis, “fundamentalist” or otherwise. The aim of the paper is to provide anyone interested in this pressing debate with a clear overview of the arguments, and to suggest that the case for decriminalization is far less persuasive than is often thought. It concludes that relaxing the law would be a serious mistake which would hinder rather than help the urgent task of improving care for the sick and the dying.
Article, ‘Should We Legalize Voluntary Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide? – A Review of the Ethical Arguments and of the Empirical Evidence from the Netherlands and Oregon’
by John Keown, MA DPhil PhD