Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates: Legalize
Topic: Legalize Assisted Suicide
Peter Singer, Philosopher & Professor of Bioethics, Princeton University
Andrew Solomon, Author, Far From the Tree & Prof. of Clinical Psychology, Columbia University
Baroness Ilora Finlay, President, British Medical Association & Member, House of Lords
Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Prof. of Medicine and Ethics, University of Chicago & Member, Presidential Bioethics Commission
In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which legalized physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Since then, it has become legal in 4 more states, including New Mexico, where the state court ruling that it is constitutional is under appeal. Is it, in the words of the American Medical Association’s code of ethics, “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer”? Will these laws lead to a slippery slope, where the vulnerable are pressured to choose death and human life is devalued? Or do we need to recognize everyone’s basic right to autonomy, the right to end pain and suffering, and the right to choose to die with dignity?