Last Rights: Euthanasia, the Sanctity of Life, and the Law in the Netherlands and the Northern Territory of Australia
National University of Singapore (NUS) - Faculty of Law
International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Vol. 47, pp. 362-393, 1998
This article considers the legal status of end of life decisions at the close of the twentieth century. In particular, I consider the two major argu-ments against legalising active voluntary euthanasia: the 'sanctity of life' argument that intentionally killing an individual as part of his or her medical care is always wrong, and the 'slippery slope' argument that al-lowing a narrow exception to this rule will inevitably lead to undesired or unforeseen consequences. I argue that reducing the complex of issues raised by euthanasia to a black and white question of whether or not so-ciety should sanction intentional killing ignores prevailing attitudes to-wards patient autonomy and existing medical practice. I discuss the ex-amples of the Netherlands and the Northern Territory of Australia, and argue that the legislative framework adopted by the latter provides better safeguards than the case law that governs Dutch acceptance of the prac-tice. Now that this landmark legislation has been overridden by Federal legislation, it leaves a legal vacuum that will have to be filled by the incre-mental and unsatisfactory process of judicial law-making.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39
Keywords: euthanasiaAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 7, 2008
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