It has been claimed that the arguments for and against euthanasia have not changed in the last 120 years. Throughout this period, two rights claims have been thought to be central to the debate. The right to autonomy is invoked by many euthanasists as the main argument in support of euthanasia. This is often countered by the claim that euthanasia violates the right to life. This article argues that the relevance of these rights claims to the euthanasia debate has been overstated. More generally, it is argued that the bluntness of the rights claims in the context of the euthanasia debate is illustrative of the fact that the concept of rights is an unsuitable device for resolving moral disputes which involve conflicting rights.
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