Latest Legal and Social Developments in the Euthanasia Debate: Bad Moral Consciences and Political Unrest
Medicine and Law, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 387-407, June 2007
Posted: 2 Nov 2008 Last revised: 21 Dec 2010
Date Written: June 1, 2007
Several events that took place during recent years, such as the French Act on the rights of patients and the end of life, the Terri Schiavo case and Lord Joffe's proposal for an Assisted Dying Bill in the United Kingdom, have triggered the debate on euthanasia more than ever.
It is therefore opportune to revisit basic notions related thereto and to make a comparative analysis of the legal regime of euthanasia in several countries in Europe and elsewhere, as well as to try to see how the public awareness of the problem has of late developed.
There seems to be a clear trend in many legal systems towards an increasing respect for the patient's right to self-determination. However, we are still looking at a complex social game, where legal and medical terminology are manipulated and euphemisms are invented in order to accommodate bad moral consciences and avoid political unrest.
Keywords: Euthanasia, end-of-life, assisted suicide, active, passive and indirect euthanasia
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