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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