The “Disparate Impact” Argument Reconsidered: Making Room for Justice in the Assisted Suicide Debate

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 30 (1):17-23 (2002)
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Abstract

In “Should We Impose Quotas? Evaluating the ‘Disparate Impact’ Argument Against Legalization of Assisted Suicide,” Ronald Lindsay argues that it should make no difference to the debate over legalizing assisted suicide whether the risks associated with legalization would fall disproportionately on the poor, people with disabilities, racial minorities, or any other especially vulnerable social group. Even assuming such an inequitable distribution of risks would occur, he maintains, attempting to avoid such an outcome is not a good reason to deny assisted suicide to “competent persons who truly voluntarily choose it.”Those of us who worry that legalization will differentially burden already disadvantaged segments of society have generally taken it for granted that the possibility of such disparities raises significant public policy concerns. By insisting on an explanation of this assumption — and, in so doing, making explicit the tension between autonomy and equality that underlies the assisted suicide debate — Lindsay has significantly advanced the ongoing conversation. While I disagree with his analysis, I commend him for a thoughtful, provocative, and important contribution to the literature.

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Citations of this work

Oregon's Experience: Evaluating the Record.Ronald A. Lindsay - 2009 - American Journal of Bioethics 9 (3):19 – 27.
Legislating Privilege.Marc S. Spindelman - 2002 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 30 (1):24-33.
Legislating Privilege.Marc S. Spindelman - 2002 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 30 (1):24-33.
The Need to Specify the Difference “Difference” Makes.Ronald A. Lindsay - 2002 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 30 (1):34-37.
The Need to Specify the Difference "Difference" Makes.Ronald A. Lindsay - 2002 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 30 (1):34-37.

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