Death -- Whose Decision? Euthanasia and the Terminally Ill
Fraser, Sharon I.
Walters, James W.
Journal of Medical Ethics. 2000 Apr; 26(2): 121-125.
In Australia and Oregon, USA, legislation to permit statutory sanctioned physician-assisted dying was enacted. However, opponents, many of whom held strong religious views, were successful with repeal in Australia. Similar opposition in Oregon was formidable, but ultimately lost in a 60-40% vote reaffirming physician-assisted dying. This paper examines the human dilemma which arises when technological advances in end-of-life medicine conflict with traditional and religious sanctity-of-life values. Society places high value on personal autonomy, particularly in the United States. We compare the potential for inherent contradictions and arbitrary decisions where patient autonomy is either permitted or forbidden. The broader implications for human experience resulting from new legislation in both Australia and Oregon are discussed. We conclude that allowing autonomy for the terminally ill, within circumscribed options, results in fewer ethical contradictions and greater preservation of dignity.
Adults; Allowing to Die; Assisted Suicide; Attitudes; Autonomy; Competence; Cultural Pluralism; Death; Democracy; Double Effect; Euthanasia; Freedom; Legislation; Life; Medicine; Palliative Care; Physicians; Public Opinion; Personal Autonomy; Religion; Right to Die; Rights; Suicide; Terminally Ill; Values; Voluntary Euthanasia;
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Fraser, Sharon I.; Walters, James W. (2000-04)
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