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Legalising assisted dying would be a failure of collective human memory and imagination

by Margaret Somerville, The Guardian, 20 September

Margaret Somerville is professor of bioethics in the school of medicine at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

If euthanasia were a stone thrown into a pond, pro-euthanasia advocates see only the stone and the immediate splash, not the stone’s antecedents or the widespread ripples it sets off. These blind spots constitute, respectively, a failure of human memory and of human imagination.

Dying and death have been depersonalised, dehumanised, medicalised, technologised, professionalised, institutionalised and certainly de-spiritualised. For the dying person this can result in what psychoanalyst and Yale law professor the late Dr Jay Katz called “intense pre-mortem loneliness” to which asking for euthanasia can be a response.

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