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The case for physician assisted suicide: how can it possibly be proven?


In her paper, The case for physician assisted suicide: not (yet) proven, Bonnie Steinbock argues that the experience with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act fails to demonstrate that the benefits of legalising physician assisted suicide outweigh its risks. Given that her verdict is based on a small number of highly controversial cases that will most likely occur under any regime of legally implemented safeguards, she renders it virtually impossible to prove the case for physician assisted suicide. In this brief paper, we suggest some ways that may enable us to weigh the risks and benefits of legalisation more fairly and, hopefully, allow us to close the case for physician assisted suicide.

  • PAS, physician assisted suicide
  • DWDA, Death with Dignity Act
  • FLSMT, forgoing of life-sustaining medical treatment
  • WTWER, withholding or withdrawing of life sustaining medical treatment without the patient’s explicit request
  • VAE, voluntary active euthanasia
  • Physician assisted suicide
  • euthanasia

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