Chapter XXIX: The Shaping of Public Opinion
Fenigsen, Richard, Fenigsen, Ryszard, Issues in Law & Medicine
In Holland, the opinion polls conducted in the last three decades have shown an increasing acceptance of euthanasia by the public: in 1986, 76 to 77 percent of the respondents supported euthanasia (whether voluntary or involuntary), (538) in 2001 the percentage rose to 82. (539) The consolidation of the present overwhelming majority must be seen as a remarkable phenomenon in the very diversified Dutch society where so many religious denominations coexist and no less than eleven political parties compete in the elections.
One of the influences that has contributed to creating those exceptionally high percentages in favor of euthanasia was the way the polls were conducted. With social acceptance of euthanasia known to be on the rise, asking solely the positively construed questions of the type "Do you agree with ... ," as all the questionnaires did, was bound to elicit many quick and less than thoroughly considered affirmative answers. The results could be different had the questionnaires been drawn up in a way that would induce the respondents to consider both the pros and cons of euthanasia. (540)
The selective …
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Publication information: Article title: Chapter XXIX: The Shaping of Public Opinion. Contributors: Fenigsen, Richard - Author, Fenigsen, Ryszard - Author. Journal title: Issues in Law & Medicine. Volume: 28. Issue: 2 Publication date: Fall 2012. Page number: 318+. © 1999 National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent & Disabled, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2012 Gale Group.
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