By Kevin Yuill (auth.)
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Extra resources for Assisted Suicide: The Liberal, Humanist Case Against Legalization
22 Assisting a suicide is not speciﬁcally mentioned in the laws of North Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. In the other 44 states, assisting a suicide constitutes a crime. In Switzerland, suicide and physician and non-physician assisted suicide is legal, as long as the motivations for the assistance are honourable. However, euthanasia is illegal. Since 2002, Belgium allows ‘euthanasia’ but only when it meets strict criteria; all euthanasia, like in the Netherlands, must be requested voluntarily by the patient.
The question is essentially about suicide rather than euthanasia. Gorsuch identiﬁes the slippery slope argument as existing from at least as far back as St Augustine of Hippo. Augustine argued against the Donatists, who took from the Apostle Paul’s intimation of suicide in Corinthians – ‘If I give my body to be burned’ – that suicide was permissible. If death could be seen as a way to escape temporal troubles, why not allow suicide to avoid future sins and other degradations? But it is important to note that this is more rubicon than slippery slope.
Who introduced proposals using the term during the 1960s and 1970s in the Florida Legislature. 5 Such slippery terms mirror the slipperiness of the debate. It is only relatively recently that campaigners have called for voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide only and not euthanasia in general. After all, it makes sense, if the aim is to alleviate suffering, to extend the power to end suffering not just to the individual involved but to doctors and, perhaps, to those nearest and dearest to the patient.