domingo, 12 de junio de 2016

BioEdge: Victorian report recommends assisted suicide

BioEdge: Victorian report recommends assisted suicide

Victorian report recommends assisted suicide
Victoria’s ‘Inquiry Into End of Life Choices’ has recommended the legalisation of assisted dying. The report is a sizable document – the summary alone is 40 pages – but the authors saved the most controversial matters till last. After almost 50 recommendations about palliative care and advanced care planning, the report concludes with an unequivocal recommendation that Victoria legalise assisted dying. The final recommendation (no. 49) is:
“That the Victorian Government introduce a legal framework providing for assisted dying, by enacting legislation based on the assisted dying framework outlined in this Report”
The recommendation is followed by an annex outlining a framework for assisted dying, including criteria for eligibility and a proposed system for oversight and review. The sorts of patients who would be eligible would be over 18 years, suffering from a serious and incurable illness, and “at the end of their life (final weeks and months of life)”.
Annexed to the report are two dissenting opinions from committee members.  Inga Peulich MLC summarized the concerns about human destruction via assisted suicide:
Any accidental loss of life – even the loss of one life, means such a regime cannot be justified, just as the loss of life, due to capital punishment, deliberate or due to a possible miscarriage of justice, cannot be justified and was the reason for its abolition.
Dr Rodney Syme, vice-president of Dying with Dignity Victoria, said he was “delighted” by the report, particularly the approach it took to dismissing “fear-based arguments” against the law. Syme said he was confident parliament would pass the laws if both major parties allowed a conscience vote.
Writing for Online Opinion, Paul Russell, the director of the advocacy group HOPE, suggested the report was a ‘sugar coated pill’ that would make for bad policy if enacted:
“The Majority Report in its conclusions and recommendations on assisted suicide, have presented the Parliament and the people of Victoria with a sugar-coated poison pill. We hope that the government of the day will see through this charade and act at all times to protect vulnerable people while prioritising palliative care.”
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You probably remember the scene in The Matrix in which Morpheus explains to Neo the terrible secret: “You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
In the jargon of The Matrix, I’m a blue pill person and believe that I’m in touch with reality. Perhaps I am deluded.
Elon Musk, billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, on the other hand, is definitely a red pill person. Last week he told a conference of geeks in San Francisco that we are probably part of a powerful computer simulation. In fact, he estimates that "There's a one in billions chance that this is base reality”. (See story below.)
Musk is an intelligent man, but I wonder if he understands the ethical implications of the red pill. If we are really marionettes in a super-human intellect’s simulation of reality, nothing much matters. Certainly worrying about right and wrong is a waste of time. Human life doesn’t matter much either, as we are all just blips in a gigantic computer game. There’s not much incentive for social solidarity.
What do you think? Are we living in The Matrix?

Michael Cook

This week in BioEdge
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As soon as assisted suicide became legal, Lonny Shavelson was in business
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Extraordinary musings from Silicon Valley entrepreneur
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Parliamentary committee in Australian state calls for legislation
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Nature article by UK scientists claims method is safe, but there are questions
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The United Nations Human Rights Committee says that Ireland’s abortion laws are a violation of human rights.
by Xavier Symons | Jun 11, 2016
Australian IVF clinics will require donor recipients to be tested for pregnancy.
by Nelson Michael and Xavier Symons | Jun 08, 2016
Recently we spoke with COL Nelson L. Michael about bioethical deliberation in an age of rapid social and scientific change.
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