The Case for an Autonomy-Centred View of Physician-Assisted Death

AbstractMost people who defend physician-assisted death (PAD) endorse theJoint View, which holds that two conditions —autonomy and welfare—must be satisfied for PAD to be justified. In this paper, we defend anAutonomy Only view. We argue that the welfare condition is either otiose on the most plausible account of the autonomy condition or else is implausibly restrictive, particularly once we account for the broad range of reasons patients cite for desiring PAD, such as “tired of life” cases. Moreover, many of the common objections to an autonomy only view fail once we understand the extent of the autonomy condition’s requirements—in particular, the importance of one’s values for autonomous choices. If our view is correct, then the scope of permissible PA D is broader than is currently accepted in both the philosophical literature and the law and therefore poses an important challenge to the current consensus on justified PAD.
Source: Journal of Bioethical Inquiry - Category: Medical Ethics Source Type: research

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