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When conscience wavers: some reflections on the normalization of euthanasia in Belgium

Boekbijdrage - Hoofdstuk

This chapter evaluates from a philosophical perspective the ongoing discussions in the Belgian civil society on the euthanasia law and its implementation since 2002. The author challenges the idea that the normalization of euthanasia is an established fact: he contends that discussions on the possible abuses of the law will continue for at least three reasons. First, in contrast with what some think, euthanasia can never become a ‘normal’ therapeutic option. By its very nature, euthanasia is a transgression of a moral taboo and will always challenge the moral conscience of some physicians. Secondly, because of its transgressive meaning, every act of euthanasia can always be contested by families, friends, and members of the medical community. Thirdly, the very existence of the euthanasia law puts pressure not only on patients and physicians, but also the larger society. By making euthanasia into a symbol of the good death, so the author argues, a whole society loses its sensitivity for the transgressive nature of euthanasia and creates strategies to mask the wavering of conscience that results from this negligence. According to the author, the wavering of conscience will continue to haunt the end-of-life care in Belgium if the law on euthanasia remains as it is.
Boek: The transcendent character of the good. Philosophical and theological perspectives / Schaafsma, Petruschka [edit.]
Pagina's: 159 - 174
Jaar van publicatie:2022
Trefwoorden:H3 Book chapter