Studies in Christian Ethics 29 (3):261-268 (2016)

Jeffrey Bishop
Saint Louis University
Those supporting laws permitting assisted suicide seem to enact a thin morality, one that permits people who desire AS to get it in the terminal stages of an illness, and that provide safeguards both for those who desire AS and do not desire it. This article explores the way in which all AS legislation subtly frames the question of AS such that AS becomes the clearest option; ensconcing AS in law also gives a moral legitimacy to suicide. Thus, the morality of laws permitting AS are not morally thin. I describe how AS laws create a different social imaginary for dying in Western cultures, one that competes with the traditional Christian understanding. Legalized AS is inevitable in Western liberal democracies, and I claim that the Church, which transformed the ancient Greco-Roman culture, will once again have to create alternative structures, creating a new Ars moriendi, in order to challenge the modern statecraft for killing.
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DOI 10.1177/0953946816642969
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