Warnock on Euthanasia

19Oct08

British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock has weighed into the current debate on euthanasia inspired by the death of Daniel James with this piece at Guardian Unlimited.  She argues that we must respect the autonomous wishes of others and not place our judgements of the value of another’s life above their own.  The article has provoked extensive and lively debate in the comments section – which reflects just how contentious the issue is.

Warnock has previously argued (in an article for the Telegraph) that dementia sufferers should be euthanised because of the strain that they put on those who care for them.  She writes:

“If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service. I’m absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there’s a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they’re a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.”

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