Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reasons for "Canada's Resurgence of Interest in Euthanasia"

EthicsForum lists reasons why euthanasia (aid in dying, death with dignity, assisted suicide) is being debated now in Canada's parliament:

So, why now are we considering legalizing euthanasia (a term I use here to include assisted suicide) when we have prohibited it for millennia? Not one of the bottom-line conditions usually linked with calls for legalizing euthanasia – that a person is terminally ill, wants to die and we can kill them – is new. These factors have been part of the human condition for as long as humans have existed. And our capacity to relieve pain and suffering has improved remarkably. So, is some other cause the main one? I suggest it’s profound changes in our post-modern, secular, Western, democratic societies, and their interactive and cumulative effects. To make wise decisions about whether or not to legalize euthanasia, we need to identify and understand these changes in relation to euthanasia.

Read the full article here. Definitely worth reading! Margaret Somerville lists and elaborates these changes:

Intense individualism
Mass media
Denial and control of death, and “death talk"
Materialism and consumerism
What it means to be human
Impact of Scientific advances
Competing world views


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