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The limitations of the Dutch euthanasia law
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 23:07 authored by Margaret Sleeboom-FaulknerMargaret Sleeboom-Faulkner
Why has the law on euthanasia in the Netherlands caused such an upheaval both at home and abroad? In this paper I some explore bioethical issues in the decriminalisation of euthanasia in the Netherlands. The regulatory role of legal and state institutions in the process of decision-making by patients, physicians and other people concerned plays a central role in these discussions. I argue, first, that the limited scope of the Dutch legislation on euthanasia cannot be a solution to end-of-life issues in general, and, second, that it is inadequate as a model for dealing with problems related to 'death-on-request' abroad. Moreover, the confusion around the meaning of the term euthanasia would make its adaptation in other institutional environments capricious. Legal change in the Netherlands was accompanied by cultural changes, expressed in the use of terms such as individual autonomy and personal choice. In the last section of this article I argue that the social and political environment may be crucial in defining the meaning of free choice. The contending views on the decriminalisation of euthanasia seem to develop as a reaction to change in medical technology in a particular socio-political environment rather than from a unique cultural ethic.
JournalEubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics
PublisherEubios Ethics Institute?
Department affiliated with
- Anthropology Publications
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