PART I Chapter 1 noted that confusion, rather than consensus, surrounds even the
definition of 'euthanasia'. The moral debate about whether VAE should be
legalised betrays no more consensus and no less confusion. This is partly
because of disagreement about terminology. But it is largely due to profound morald is agreement: about the value of human life; about the proper
purpose and limits of individual autonomy; and about whether current
law and medical practice consistently and effectively prohibit intentional
medical killing.Part II outlines three major arguments for the legalisation of VAE and
offers replies to those arguments. The three arguments are:
The ethical debate: human life, autonomy, legal
hypocrisy, and the slippery slope
|• ||that it is right for a doctor intentionally to terminate the life of a patient
at the patient's request when death is thought to be a benefit;|
|• ||that such a course, as well as recognising that life is sometimes a burden
rather than a benefit, also respects the patient's autonomy, the patient's
right to make his or her own decisions;|
|• ||that the current law is ineffective and inconsistent: not only does it fail
to stop the clandestine practice of VAE by some doctors but it hypocritically permits some forms of medical practice, such as administering
life-shortening doses of palliative drugs, which are actually a form of
Chapters 4–6 will consider each argument, and corresponding counterarguments, in turn. Chapter 7 will then consider a major argument against
decriminalising VAE – the so-called slippery slope argument.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument against Legalisation.
Contributors: John Keown - Author.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press.
Place of publication: Cambridge, England.
Publication year: 2002.
Page number: 37.
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