The Irish Supreme Court upheld the decision of the lower court that there is no right to assisted suicide in Ireland, and that the principle of equal treatment does not confer a right to assisted suicide.
In New Zealand Health Professionals are rallying together to promote ethical health care and the right to conscientious objection through a new group called the New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance. The group is a response to the public debate on assisted suicide and a continuing effort to undermine the ability of a health professional to deliver care in the best interest of their patients. Please visit their website to supoprt their efforts.
Margaret Somerville, of McGill University, and Nikola Biller-Andorno, of the Institute of Biomedical Ethics of the University of Zurich, debate physician-assisted suicide on a podcast by the New England Journal of Medicine. Quite fascinating.
"My mother suffered from chronic depression. Two years ago she broke off all contact with me. In April 2012 she was euthanased at the hospital of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (the Free University of Brussels). I was not involved in the decision-making process and the doctor who gave her the injection never contacted me... I am still trying to understand how it is possible for euthanasia to be performed on physically healthy people without even contacting their children."
Many of you probably read the recent heartbreaking news of Marc and Eddy, deaf twins who requested, and were granted, euthanization in Belgium after discovering they were going blind. Later this year, Belgium's ruling party is set to consider allowing the euthanasia of children and Alzheimer's sufferers.
Why is news of a youth suicide greeted with far more concern than a suicide of an elderly or infirmed person? Certainly it’s natural to lament a young life lost, a future snuffed out prematurely. But suicide in the elderly and infirmed is no less a tragedy – particularly as it often portrays a sense of loss of hope or ability to find support and answers to one’s fears and concerns.
The case for euthanasia is logical, direct and utilitarian, so it's easy to make. That against it is much more intangible, indirect and ephemeral, so it is much harder to communicate effectively, especially in a predominantly visual culture.
The two deaf twins killed by legal euthanasia in Belgium were frightened of losing their independence in an institution and asked for a mercy killing after finding that they would also soon go blind.
We will all be confronted by illness, grief and loss at one point in our lives. How we respond to suffering says much about empathy, love and who we are. This is why it is so important to understand the Catholic Church teachings regarding euthanasia. Why is it wrong?
There is nothing wrong with a discussion about euthanasia and assisted suicide. However, the discussion will be fruitless if, following the advice of Sydney academic Lyn Carson, we begin to change its terms. In a recent contribution to the Sydney Morning Herald Carson made a case for euthanasia by defining it as “assisted dying”.
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