Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Kevin Yuill on assisted suicide

Dr Kevin Yuill (History and Politics) has published a monograph entitled Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). The book presents an up-to-date analysis of the direction discussion is taking, showing that atheists, libertarians, those favouring abortion rights and stem-cell research should stand beside their religious compatriots in opposing legalization of assisted suicide. Kevin shows that the real issue behind the debate is not euthanasia but suicide. Rather than focusing on tragic cases, he indicates the real damage that will be done if we affirm the suicidal wishes of even a small segment of the population. Analyzing the movement for the right to die in historical terms, Kevin shows that, though many proponents of a change in the law believe they are rationalist heirs of such thinkers as John Stuart Mill, legalizing assisted suicide will reduce privacy and freedom. Finally, Kevin suggests a radical alternative to legalization of assisted suicide that would embrace both the cause of freedom and the anxieties of many about securing good deaths.

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