Mental Capacity Bill - A threat to the vulnerable

New Law Journal 154:1165 (2004)

Jacqueline A. Laing
Oxford University (DPhil)
Helga Kuhse suggested in 1985 at a session of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies in Nice, that once dehydration to death became legal and routine in hospitals, people would, on seeing the horror of it, seek the lethal injection. The strategy of legalising passive euthanasia is itself flawed. Laing argues that the Mental Capacity Bill threatens the vulnerable by inviting breaches of arts 2,3,5,8, and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Most at risk are the disabled and incapacitated. Sections permitting non-therapeutic research and non consensual sterilisation are at odds with the Nuremberg Code. New third party powers to dehydrate the vulnerable permit new systemic human rights abuse of a clinical though not historically unfamiliar variety.
Keywords Mental incapacity  Disability  Dehydration  Withdrawing and withholding
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