Somatic Oppression and Relational Autonomy: Revisiting Medical Aid in Dying through a Feminist Lens
U.B.C. Law Review, Vol. 53, Issue 2 (December 2020), pp. 241-298
58 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2021
Date Written: December 30, 2020
Drawing upon disability studies and theories of relational autonomy, this essay illustrates how somatic oppression may affect one’s autonomy — conceptualized as a socially contextualized competency — in the context of Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD), in ways that are not captured by current safeguards focused on protecting free and informed consent. From a relational standpoint, securing free and informed consent fails to protect individual autonomy, and instead we need to examine how medical and social relationships, practices, and institutions can hinder or enable the development and practice of autonomy. I conclude that oppression poses a credible threat to the autonomy of MAiD patients and thus warrants further attention.
Keywords: Medical Aid in Dying; Physician-Assisted Suicide; Euthanasia; Carter; Relational Autonomy; Consent; Meyers; Somatic; Oppression; Ageism; Ableism; Emotions
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