requires the active intervention of an assistant. So, here we have two actors with the same motives. Both foresee the result. To claim that it is not intended is sheer casuistry. Many red tapes need to be overcome by those wishing to die. The main reason is to avoid the legendary “What if?” In spite of good evidence against it, the most commonly advanced reason is avoiding the slippery slope. For instance, in Switzerland, where assisted suicide and voluntary active euthanasia have been tolerated (though not legal it is not prosecuted if the assistant has no hidden agenda, i.e. personal interest in the death of the assisted person) since 1918, it accounts for 0.45 percent of deaths, only a little more than the 0.3 percent in the Netherlands (Veldink et al. 2002; Van der Heide et al., 2007). The candidate has to activate the “death machine” or has to swallow the lethal drug; in other cases the candidate first ingests the drug but the final blow is administered by a tier. The death is foreseen but not intended. Who is the actor? What is active (commission) and what is passive (omission)? Removing a feeding tube is an act of commission; since the intention is death it is killing. Not pouring sustenance in the tube is omission, letting die. The intention is the same; the type of action is different. Does it really matter? As pointed out by Sullivan (1999), the debate places the doctor at the centre instead of the applicant, it leaves out the good of the person who wishes to die, which is the purpose of end of life decisions. 2. Facing death Etymologically, euthanasia means a good or happy death. Many might wonder if death could ever be a happy event. To be good, death should be desired and ought to be peaceful and painless. The concept of euthanasia would not apply to a person who slips away peacefully and painlessly without any intervention after a fulfilled life. Euthanasia requires an intervention by the person wishing to die or by a person acting on her behalf to hasten a wanted death. The word euthanasia has three meanings: 1) a quiet, peaceful, and painless death; 2) the means of procuring it; and 3) the action inducing it. What is missing is that the three definitions leave out the good of the person whose death is in question and that the death is desired by that person and for its own sake. Euthanasia cannot be morally justified unless it benefits the person who dies (Foot, 1996), and if no one else is harmed by it (Hook, 1995). Some might consider that death is welcome after a happy and fulfilled life. Others who had an unhappy life or who are burdened with sorrow and suffering view death as deliverance. It seems, though, that for many who are clinging to life death is the last thing on their wish list. In other words, death is inevitable and is either wished or feared. LaFollette (1997) has argued that we have not decided to enter life, but that we should be granted the right to choose to exit life. Such view, of course, is highly debatable and debated. Those who believe in the principle of sanctity of life argue that life is God given; therefore, God only can take it back. This argument does not hold for non-believers though.
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