The Case Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

By June 14, 2016 Recent News

University of Otago – Faculty of Law – Rex Ahdar
March 2016
New Zealand Law Review, Forthcoming

The arguments in favour of legalising voluntary euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide initially appear convincing. We should, it is said, respect people’s autonomy, euthanasia is a compassionate response to unbearable suffering, it has (supposedly) worked well in those nations that have implemented it, and so on. But on closer analysis, the arguments are far less persuasive. Such a new law is unnecessary given the current legal ability of all but the most incapacitated to take their own life and the availability of palliative care. Any euthanasia law — even one carefully drafted with requisite safeguards — is susceptible to noncompliance and vulnerable to abuse. Moreover, any law would face the ineradicable reality of self-imposedpressure the vulnerable experience to “do the right thing”. This article sets out ten reasons why euthanasia should not be legalised and contends that the case for decriminalising it has not been made out by the proponents of it.