The Euthanasia Debate
The debate regarding the practice and legalization of active voluntary euthanasia has existed for many years and there is already a wealth of literature on this subject from a variety of disciplines such as law, medicine, theology, and philosophy. This chapter reviews the existing literature to consider the principal arguments that have been advanced both for and against the legalization of active voluntary euthanasia. Although many of the issues are legal in nature, this chapter also looks at non-legal arguments. It considers the competing arguments and arrives at some conclusion as to whether active voluntary euthanasia should be legalized. This chapter also discusses self-determination, the patient's right to refuse treatment, an argument from mercy, promotion of human dignity, public demand and support for active voluntary euthanasia, the role of criminal law, the present limits of consent, the relationship between law and morality, and the relationship between law and public opinion.
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