Wednesday 23 November 2011

The life worth of others

...a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering.
It’s an act I can understand in theory, yet one that on examination leads to a worrying question. When we talk about euthanasia it’s often in terms of a right to die for the seriously ill, but who decides on what is meant by “seriously ill”? Is it a terminal illness or - more contentiously - a severe disability? Assurances that it’s the patient making the decision for him/herself are unsatisfactory. If the patient determines the definition, it is a right conferred to all as the definition is meaningless; and if it’s society as a whole, in doing so is it not making a value judgement? What message do we send to those who qualify for assisted suicide?


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