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Enforced death: enforced life.
  1. G Fairbairn
  1. North East Wales Institute of Higher Education, Cartrefle, Wrexham.


    The notion of 'quality of life' frequently features in discussions about how it is appropriate to treat folk at the beginning and at the end of life. It is argued that there is a disjunction between its use in these two areas (1). In the case of disabled babies at the very beginning of life, 'quality of life' considerations are frequently used to justify enforced death on the basis that the babies in question would be better off dead. At times, babies with severe disabilities are thus allowed to die or even killed. In the case of terminally ill people 'quality of life' is also important in guiding the actions of doctors. However, in the case of individuals who do not wish to live any longer because their quality of life is so poor that they would rather be dead, quality of life is likely to be dropped as a guiding principle. Thus patients who wish to die and ask to be killed, will most often be forced to endure enforced life.

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