The Slippery Slope: Opposing The Legalization of Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide
The arguments opposing the legalization of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide include a wide range of varying ideals. There are those who are against these practices for religious reasons, the act of suicide or the taking of a life are viewed as Mortal, unforgivable, sins. Those who have philosophical notions that conflict with the basic idea of taking a life, and even those that worry these practices could somehow lead to Nazi like genocide. The most common arguments against the legalization of these practices are called the “Slippery Slope”, the fear that the allowance of euthanasia and physician assisted suicide would lead to an unacceptable abuse of the process and push us toward the unthinkable, involuntary euthanasia.
In order to better explain the Slippery Slope concept, all of the terms used in the argument should be clarified. As explained by John Keown in his book, Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument Against Legalization, there is physician-assisted suicide, PAS, and voluntary active euthanasia, VAE, which “is generally understood to mean euthanasia at the request of the patient…VAE can be contrasted with ‘non-voluntary’ active euthanasia (NVAE), that is, euthanasia performed on those who do not have the mental ability to request euthanasia (such as babies or adults with advanced dementia) or those who, though competent, are not give the opportunity to consent to it. Finally, euthanasia against the wishes of a competent patient is often referred to as ‘involuntary’ active euthanasia (IVAE).” The basic idea in the Slippery Slope argument is that, while most don’t disagree with the use of physician assisted suicide or voluntary active euthanasia in terminal cases, in principle, there is worry that the legalization of these practices would result in a slide down the proverbial slope into non-voluntary active euthanasia and eventually...
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