Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Death with Dignity Slippery Slope Fallacy

The state of Oregon has an assisted suicide law that is called "Death with Dignity". This law was enacted twice by citizens initiative. It was also upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Gonzales vs. State of Oregon.

Opponents of assisted suicide have a spectrum of reasons why they're against it. Mostly they consist of:

  1. Euthanasia would not only be for people who are "terminally ill"
  2. Euthanasia can become a means of health care cost containment
  3. Euthanasia will become non-voluntary
  4. Euthanasia is a rejection of the importance and value of human life

(Source: http://www.euthanasia.com/argumentsagainsteuthanasia.html)

First of all euthanasia is a clever choice of words. This is a classic debate topic where word choice is used to shift the argument. Let's be clear when we say that euthanasia is not assisted suicide. They're different.

Assisted suicide is where a medical professional (MD or OD) enables an informed consenting adult to end their own life in a humane and dignified manner. Euthanasia is the same but a medical professional does the work of actually ending the persons life.

Addressing the issues outlined above are these recent studies:


The takeaway message is that as of 2007, the concerns brought up by assisted suicide opponents are provably unfounded.

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