Empirical research in the debate on physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia

Clinical Ethics 2 (3):129-132 (2007)
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This article explores the use of empirical data when considering whether to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) and voluntary euthanasia. In particular, it focuses on the evidence available to the Select Committee for the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill on whether or not covert euthanasia is taking place in the UK under the current prohibition of PAS and voluntary euthanasia. The article shows that there is an insufficient evidentiary basis to make any claims about the extent of covert euthanasia within the UK, although there is sufficient evidence to conclude that instances of covert euthanasia do happen. The article also calls for more research to be conducted in order to determine the rate of covert euthanasia in order to inform debate about the legalization of end-of-life decisions such as PAS and voluntary euthanasia



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