Euthanasia

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  • Euthanasia
    • Justifiable euthanasia in the UK is a matter for society to decide
      • Prior cases support the proposition that an enactment on assisted dying is feasible and desirable but it remains a matter for each society to decide
        • Problem remains how to draft the substantive requirements in such a piece of legislation
          • Private members bid for assisted dying for the terminally ill 2004 presented to British Parliment and modelled in the oregon act was rejected
            • Terminally ill raises definitional problems not always terminal illness but unbearable suffering does take place
              • End of life decisions raises legal ethical and constitutional issues
          • legislating on assisted dying is a matter for the people to decide
            • If the attuned legislators decide to legislate on assisted dying the options are  to use legislation from jurisdictions which already have existing legislation
              • Problematic due to statutory interpretation which mentions one thing but excludes another
              • Can borrow electically from both to resolve issues raised
    • Advance directives- living wills and the enduring power of arrorney
      • Living wills and enduring powers of attorney validated by sections 24-26 of the mental capacity act 2005 which came into force in 2007
        • A living will competent person, before sudden illness or accident requests that they should be allowed to die and not kept alive by heroic or artificial means
          • Enduring power of attorney competent person appoints a medical agent who need not be a family member makes the decision to be allowed to die and not kept alive by artificial means when he is unable to do so through illness or accident
      • patients have the right through advance directives to stipulate that in the event of terminal illness or other such circumstances where evidence suggests biological death is imminent to discontinue all extraordinary means of life support
    • Defined euthanasia- eu= well and thanatos= death meaning to put painlessly to death
      • Non voluntary euthanasia- killing someone in his own interest where he is not in a position to either have or express any view on the matter
        • involuntary euthanasia- killing someone supposedly in their interest but in disregard of his own views
        • Conceptually and ethically there is no difference between voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide as both are carried out at the request of the patient
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      • The right to die is not in any constitution but there comes a time when death should take its cours
        • respect autonomy and dignity by allowing advance directives for non selfish reasons in defined circumstances
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  • Justification for assisted dying in whatever form it takes- autonomy and dignity
    • If society deems that assisted dying is desirable to be legalised there are various forms which can facilitate this
      • Dutch act codifies existing practices of doctors relieving unbearable pain and hopeless suffering
        • Belgium similar to dutch law into force in 2002 terminating life on request legal competence no external pressure and a requirement of suffering
      • Australia's northern territory and Oregon legislation on assisted suicide
        • Australia's northern territory- the right of the terminally ill act 1995 legalised physician assisted suicide act overturned in 1997
          • Oregon death with dignity act
            • Oregon and Australia similar in that both statutes require terminal illness and competent request
      • Germany and columbia compassionate homicide
      • Switzerland consensual homicide
    • Netherlands intentionally helping another to commit suicide based on unbearable pain and suffering
      • In the UK there is no law stopping those who choose to go to Switzerland for assisted suicide
        • There are two problems; 1. assisted suicide is illegal in the UK whereas suicide itself is not. 2. a definition problem
        • Section 1 suicide act 1961 the rule of law whereby it is a crime for a person to commit suicide is hereby aborgated
          • Section 2 (1) Aiding and abetting suicide an offence
            • Section 2 (4) no proceedings shall be instituted for an offence under this section except by or with the consent of the DPP
              • Section 1 of the act does not uphold the sanctity of life
                • Section 2 (4) of the act rationally interpreted that the DPP should exercise his discretion not to prosecute only in such cases in which conviction would be grossly absurd and unjust

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