Moving from voluntary euthanasia to non-voluntary euthanasia: equality and compassion

Amarasekara, Kumar and Bagaric, Mirko 2004, Moving from voluntary euthanasia to non-voluntary euthanasia: equality and compassion, Ratio juris: an international journal of jurisprudence and philosophy of law, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 398-423.

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Title Moving from voluntary euthanasia to non-voluntary euthanasia: equality and compassion
Author(s) Amarasekara, Kumar
Bagaric, Mirko
Journal name Ratio juris: an international journal of jurisprudence and philosophy of law
Volume number 17
Issue number 3
Start page 398
End page 423
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2004-09
ISSN 0952-1917
1467-9337
Keyword(s) nature of law
law and morality
justice
rightness and natural law
law and reason
the logic of norms
rights validity and the legitimacy of law
the rule of law
legal reasoning
interpretation
Summary The recent Dutch law legalising active voluntary euthanasia will reignite the euthanasia debate. An illuminating method for evaluating the moral status of a practice is to follow the implications of the practice to its logical conclusion. The argument for compassion is one of the central arguments in favour of voluntary active euthanasia. This argument applies perhaps even more forcefully in relation to incompetent patients. If active voluntary euthanasia is legalised, arguments based on compassion and equality will be directed towards legalising active non-voluntary euthanasia in order to make accelerated termination of death available also to the incompetent. The removal of discrimination against the incompetent has the potential to become as potent a catch-cry as the right to die. However, the legalisation of non-voluntary euthanasia is undesirable. A review of the relevant authorities reveals that there is no coherent and workable "best interests" test which can be invoked to decide whether an incompetent patient is better off dead. This provides a strong reason for not stepping onto the slippery path of permitting active voluntary euthanasia.
Language eng
Field of Research 180199 Law not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2004, Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30006493

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Law
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