Morally-Relevant Similarities and Differences Between Assisted Dying Practices in Paradigm and Non-Paradigm Circumstances: Could They Inform Regulatory Decisions?

AbstractThere has been contentious debate over the years about whether there are morally relevant similarities and differences between the three practices of continuous deep sedation until death, physician-assisted suicide, and voluntary euthanasia. Surprisingly little academic attention has been paid to a comparison of the uses of these practices in the two types of circumstances in which they are typically performed. Acomparative domains of ethics analysis methodological approach is used in the paper to compare 1) the use of the three practices in paradigm circumstances, and 2) the use of the practices in paradigm circumstances to their use in non-paradigm circumstances. The analytical outcomes suggest that a bright moral line cannot be demonstrated between any two of the practices in paradigm circumstances, and that there are significant, morally-relevant distinctions between their use in paradigm and non-paradigm circumstances. A thought experiment is employed to illustrate how these outcomes could possibly inform the decisions of hypothetical deliberators who are engaged in the collaborative development of assisted dying regulatory frameworks.
Source: Journal of Bioethical Inquiry - Category: Medical Ethics Source Type: research

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