And with good reason: Any argument on the subject usually devolves into a series of complex, abstract questions about morality and freedom of choice and so on. But while these ideas do have their place in the debate, they usually serve only to eclipse the other, better reasons we have for considering legalization—reasons that involve evidence, lived experience, and hard statistics.
This article has been corrected. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Euthanasia or assisted suicide—and sometimes both—have been legalized in a small number of countries and states.
In all jurisdictions, laws and safeguards were put in place to prevent abuse and misuse of these practices. Prevention measures have included, among others, explicit consent by the person requesting euthanasia, mandatory reporting of all cases, administration only by physicians with the exception of Switzerlandand consultation by a second physician.
The present paper provides evidence that these laws and safeguards are regularly ignored and transgressed in all the jurisdictions and that transgressions are not prosecuted. Although the initial intent was to limit euthanasia and assisted suicide to a last-resort option for a very small number of terminally ill people, some jurisdictions now extend the practice to newborns, children, and people with dementia.
A terminal illness is no longer a prerequisite. Legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide therefore places many people at risk, affects the values of society over time, and does not provide controls and safeguards. Euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide 1. The physician therefore administers the lethal substance.
In physician-assisted suicide pas on the other hand, a person self-administers a lethal substance prescribed by a physician. To date, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg have legalized euthanasia 12.
The laws in the Netherlands and Luxembourg also allow pas. In the United States, the states of Oregon and Washington legalized pas in and respectively, but euthanasia remains illegal 3. In the Netherlands, euthanasia and pas were formally legalized in after about 30 years of public debate 1.
Despite opposition, including that from the Belgian Medical Association, Belgium legalized euthanasia in after about 3 years of public discourse that included government commissions. The law was guided by the Netherlands and Oregon experiences, and the public was assured that any defects in the Dutch law would be addressed in the Belgian law.
Luxembourg legalized euthanasia and pas in Switzerland is an exception, in that assisted suicide, although not formally legalized, is tolerated as a result of a loophole in a law dating back to the early s that decriminalizes suicide.
Euthanasia, however, is illegal 4. A person committing suicide may do so with assistance as long as the assistant has no selfish motives and does not stand to gain personally from the death. Unlike other jurisdictions that require euthanasia or assisted suicide to be performed only by physicians, Switzerland allows non-physicians to assist suicide.
In all these jurisdictions, safeguards, criteria, and procedures were put in place to control the practices, to ensure societal oversight, and to prevent euthanasia and pas from being abused or misused 5.
Some criteria and procedures are common across the jurisdictions; others vary from country to country 56. The extent to which these controls and safeguards have been able to control the practices and to avoid abuse merits closer inspection, particularly by jurisdictions contemplating the legalization of euthanasia and pas.
Voluntary, Written Consent In all jurisdictions, the request for euthanasia or pas has to be voluntary, well-considered, informed, and persistent over time. The requesting person must provide explicit written consent and must be competent at the time the request is made.
Despite those safeguards, more than people in the Netherlands are euthanized involuntarily every year. Ina total of deaths by euthanasia or pas were reported, representing 1. More than people 0.
For every 5 people euthanized, 1 is euthanized without having given explicit consent. Attempts at bringing those cases to trial have failed, providing evidence that the judicial system has become more tolerant over time of such transgressions 5.
In Belgium, the rate of involuntary and non-voluntary euthanasia deaths that is, without explicit consent is 3 times higher than it is in the Netherlands 89.
Those findings accord with the results of a previous study in which 25 of non-sudden deaths had been the result of euthanasia without explicit consent 8. Some proponents of euthanasia contend that the foregoing figures are misrepresentative, because many people may have at some time in their lives expressed a wish for or support of euthanasia, albeit not formally.
The counterargument is that the legal requirement of explicit written consent is important if abuse and misuse are to be avoided.
After all, written consent has become essential in medical research when participants are to be subjected to an intervention, many of which pose far lesser mortality risks. Recent history is replete with examples of abuse of medical research in the absence of explicit informed consent.
Mandatory Reporting Reporting is mandatory in all the jurisdictions, but this requirement is often ignored 11 In Belgium, nearly half of all cases of euthanasia are not reported to the Federal Control and Evaluation Committee May 20, · What are the arguments in favor of physician aid-in-dying (PAD)?
The US Supreme Court declined to find a federal constitutional right to “assisted suicide”, and made a legal distinction between refusal of treatment and PAS.
A national survey of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in the United States. New England Journal of. Attempts to Legalize Euthanasia/Assisted-Suicide in the United States In the United States, Oregon was the first state to legalized doctor-prescribed suicide.
At that time, assisted-suicide advocates predicted that there would be a rapid “domino effect,” and other states would soon follow Oregon’s lead.
Sep 12, · Euthanasia is an issue most politicians wouldn’t touch with a long pole. And with good reason: Any argument on the subject usually devolves into a series of complex, abstract questions about morality and freedom of choice and so on.
Start studying Sociology Exam 3. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Teenage pregnancy rates in the United States have been increasing steadily since the s. All of the above are arguments in favor of euthanasia. Sweden, Norway, and Israel are examples of countries that have socialized.
- The Debate on Euthanasia in the United Kingdom One of the biggest controversies in the UK today is Euthanasia. Arguments about Euthanasia often hinge on . In the United States, the states of Oregon and Washington legalized pas in and respectively, but euthanasia remains illegal 3.
The situation in the state of Montana is currently unclear; a bill legalizing pas was passed by the state legislature in , but was recently defeated by the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee.