Non-Voluntary Euthanasia: The Future of Euthanasia Essay

Non-Voluntary Euthanasia: The Future of Euthanasia Essay

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Non-Voluntary Euthanasia: The Future of Euthanasia

    Non-voluntary euthanasia seems to be the natural direction in which euthanasia practice evolves. In the Netherlands at the present time, there is a fear on the part of the aged, about being taken to the hospital - where the doctor may have the last word about life and death. This essay digs into this evolutionary process of voluntary euthanasia evolving into the non-voluntary type.


Advocates of legalised euthanasia almost always insist that they only want voluntary euthanasia (VE) - a they say they are as opposed to the taking of life without the subject's knowledge or consent, that is, non-voluntary euthanasia (NVE), as anyone else. Some do extend their advocacy to some examples of NVE, such as seriously deformed newborns, [1] where consent would not be possible, but this is not usual. It is widely accepted that sufficient protection against the unwanted extension of VE to NVE would be ensured by the inclusion of appropriate legal safeguards.


As safeguards, clauses are proposed that would require the doctor to be satisfied that the patient's request was freely made and sufficiently informed, that there was no psychological abnormality such as depression, and possibly by requiring psychiatric consultation, that more than one doctor be involved in the decision that it was medically appropriate to take life in the circumstances, and that there be adequate documentation. It is also common to find lawyers who declare that such laws would be feasible to devise, though it is less common to find actual draft laws published for discussion. In one sense, those lawyers are correct when they say such law would be possible - but they stop short of addressing t...

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...thout explicit request of patient. Lancet 1993; 341: 1196-1199.


12,Van Delden JJM, Pijnenborg L, van der Maas PJ. The Remmelink Report; Two Years Later. Hastings Center Report 1993; Nov/Dec 24-27.


13.Fenigsen R. The Netherlands; New Regulations Concerning Euthanasia. Issues Law Med 1993; 9: 167-171.


14.Id. p 170.


15.Brownstein EG. Neonatal Euthanasia Case Law in the Netherlands. Aust Law J 1997; 7: 54-58.


16.Washington vs Glucksberg, 117 SCt 2303.


17. Stevens C, Hassan R. Management of death, dying and euthanasia; attitudes and practices of medical practitioners in South Australia. J Med Ethics 1994. 

Meier DE, Emmons CA, Wallenstein S, Quill T, Morrison RS, Cassel CK. A National Survey of Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the United States. N Eng J Med 1998; 338: 1193-1201. 20: 41-46. 

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