The Dutch story

Legalizing euthanasia

In the course of arguing against legalizing euthanasia, ethicist William F. May admitted that he could imagine circumstances in which he would kill for mercy’s sake—“when the patient is irreversibly beyond human care, terminal, and in extreme and unabatable pain.” Having made this admission, shouldn’t he then logically endorse the legalization of such a practice under certain circumstances? No, said May, for “we should not always expect the law to provide us with full protection and coverage for what, in extreme cases, we may need morally to do. Sometimes the moral life calls us into a no-man’s land.”

 

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