Adherence to the Request Criterion in Jurisdictions Where Assisted Dying Is Lawful? A Review of the Criteria and Evidence in the Netherlands, Belgium, Oregon, and Switzerland

30 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2014

Date Written: November 15, 2013

Abstract

Some form of assisted dying (voluntary euthanasia and/or assisted suicide) is lawful in the Netherlands, Belgium, Oregon, and Switzerland. In order to be lawful in these jurisdictions, a valid request must precede the provision of assistance to die. Non-adherence to the criteria for valid requests for assisted dying may be a trigger for civil and/or criminal liability, as well as disciplinary sanctions where the assistor is a medical professional. In this article, we review the criteria and evidence in respect of requests for assisted dying in the Netherlands, Belgium, Oregon, and Switzerland, with the aim of establishing whether individuals who receive assisted dying do so on the basis of valid requests. We conclude that the evidence suggests that individuals who receive assisted dying in the four jurisdictions examined do so on the basis of valid requests and third parties who assist death do not act unlawfully. However, further research on the elements that may undermine the validity of requests for assisted dying is warranted. More research on the reasons why requests for assisted dying are refused is also desirable.

Keywords: Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Oregon, assisted dying, assisted suicide, physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, request

Suggested Citation

Lewis, Penney and Black, Isra, Adherence to the Request Criterion in Jurisdictions Where Assisted Dying Is Lawful? A Review of the Criteria and Evidence in the Netherlands, Belgium, Oregon, and Switzerland (November 15, 2013). Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, Vol. 41, No. 4, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2389407

Penney Lewis (Contact Author)

King's College London ( email )

Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom
+44 20 7848 1103 (Phone)
+44 20 7848 2465 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/law/people/academic/plewis.aspx

Isra Black

York Law School ( email )

University of York
Heslington, York YO10
United Kingdom

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