The prisoner’s dilemma: The role of medical professionals in executions

By L. Elisabeth Armstrong A March 2021 Op-Ed in Washington Post asserts that Capital Punishment is ending in America. With twenty-three states abolishing the practice, another three institutionalizing moratoriums, and serious debate surrounding a moratorium on federal executions, it might seem that this is the case. However, much of the country continues to advance the […]

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Disability, mental illness, and medical assistance in dying in Canada: Recent slippery slope and social determinants of health arguments miss the mark

By Jocelyn Downie and Udo Schuklenk In its 2015 landmark Carter decision, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that the blanket criminalisation of medical assistance in dying (MAiD) unjustifiably infringes on Canadians’ rights and declared that the prohibitions were: “of no force or effect to the extent that they prohibit physician-assisted death for a competent adult person […]

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Medical assistance in dying—is there a case for including persons with mental illness?

By Nicholas Delva, Anees Bahji Over the last couple of decades, medical assistance in dying (MAiD) has become legal in a few developed countries. Developments in this area have been primarily driven by patients, with general support from the population. Governments have been cautious in the development of legislation, which is not surprising given that […]

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Enough already about conscientious objection in voluntary assisted dying – what about the conscientious participants?

By Jodhi Rutherford There is a copious literature on conscientious objection in voluntary assisted dying (VAD), also known as MAID, voluntary euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, or death with dignity. Yet, there has been relative silence in the bioethics literature on what might motivate ‘conscientious participation’ in VAD, whereby clinicians may actively, morally, and purposively support the […]

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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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