The current call for a (fresh) inquiry on assisted suicide

By Nataly Papadopoulou. As a society and as individuals, we face challenges in dealing with debilitating, horrible diseases causing suffering, indignity, and loss of autonomy. With increased emphasis on individual autonomy in a clinical but also in a legal setting, some patients wish to control the end of their lives. Perhaps one of the most […]

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The importance of mourning rituals to the dead

By Luís Cordeiro-Rodrigues. In Sophocles’ play Antigone, Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, decides that, as a punishment for Polynices’s rebellion, Polynices will not receive a proper funeral but will instead lie unburied on the battlefield to be eaten by animals. Antigone, one of Polynices’s sisters, defies Creon’s orders and gives her brother a funeral […]

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Psychiatric patients and the decisional authority in the context of euthanasia. Is the psychiatrist a competent gatekeeper?

By Frank Schweitser In Belgium people with an incurable psychiatric disorder can file a request for euthanasia claiming unbearable psychic suffering. For the request to be accepted, it has to meet stringent legal criteria. Psychiatrists play an important role in the evaluation of these criteria. One of the legal requirements is that the patient possess […]

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Supreme Court rules on the first prosecution of a Dutch doctor since the euthanasia act

Eva C.A. Asscher and Suzanne van de Vathorst. On April 21st the Supreme Court passed judgement on the case of the first doctor to be prosecuted since the 2002 Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act. In September 2019 a Dutch nursing home doctor performing euthanasia on a patient with severe […]

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Why a relational account cannot rule out infanticide if abortion is permissible

By Bruce Blackshaw and Daniel Rodger It is widely recognised that late-term fetuses and infants differ little in features that are thought to be morally relevant such as consciousness and rationality. This poses a problem for ethicists who argue for the permissibility of abortion but wish to rule out infanticide. Some just bite the bullet—Alberto […]

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Highest German court defends the constitutional right to (assisted) suicide

By Ruth Horn. On 26th April 2020, the German Constitutional Court overturned a law of 2015 prohibiting ‘any business-like assisted suicide’.  This included any potentially recurring suicide assistance that might be provided, with or without commercial interests, by a doctor, nurse, relative or member of a right-to-die organisation. Although suicide and therefore also assisted suicide […]

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Can survival be a harm? The German Federal Court of Justice rules on a claim for damages after life-sustaining treatment

Ulrich Pfeifer and Ruth Horn. Should it be permissible to convict a doctor who has performed life-sustaining treatment (LST) without medical indication? At first sight, the answer seems obvious: a medical intervention is only lawful if there is 1) valid consent and 2) a medical necessity that is medical indication. In the absence of either […]

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