By Kevin Yuill (auth.)
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Extra info for Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization
What exactly is ‘dignity’ and who deﬁnes it? The concept of death with dignity begs the question: are other deaths necessarily without dignity? Historically, the term ‘death with dignity’ was used by Representative Dr Walter W. , who introduced proposals using the term during the 1960s and 1970s in the Florida Legislature. 5 Such slippery terms mirror the slipperiness of the debate. It is only relatively recently that campaigners have called for voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide only and not euthanasia in general.
Perhaps the patient made clear her wishes but lacks the function to give ﬁnal assent to the act. Up until 1970 (and, to a lesser extent, today) 14 Assisted Suicide campaigners for a change in the law sought the legalization of both euthanasia and assisted suicide. Since then the emphasis has shifted to autonomy. The evolution of terminology By the 1950s euthanasia advocates advised changing the terminology in order to distance themselves from Nazi eugenics programs and welldocumented and horriﬁc medical experimentation during the Third Reich.
The fact that many organizations promoting assisted suicide continue to be active in countries where legalization has occurred indicates that she is on the right track with her assertion that death talk reﬂects a fear of death and is manifested in the promotion of assisted suicide. Somerville’s strengths lie in her discussion of why the whole discussion is appearing now and in her attack on autonomy. However, she conﬂates assisted suicide (or, more accurately, physicianassisted suicide) with euthanasia.
Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization by Kevin Yuill (auth.)