Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Pressure and Euthanasia

A key argument against euthanasia is that people may be pressured towards euthanasia. The argument may sometimes be interpreted solely in terms of the life lost due to such pressure. However, such an interpretation may be too limited and unsatisfactory. While there is indeed something wrong with the scenario of people dying to assisted suicide when they have no wish to, an oft-neglected aspect to the issue is pressure.

The pressure argument is this: the focus should also be on the negative pressures faced by the terminally-ill patient. It is not sufficient to introduce safeguards to prevent people from ending their lives due to pressure; rather, such negative pressure should itself be prevented. Harm, whether to the life of a person, or of a psychological or emotional nature, is harm. It is unacceptable to consider the former but not the latter.

No comments: