- See more at: http://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/washington-dc-votes-to-legalise-euthanasia/12074#sthash.zoMkWAU7.dpuf
Washington DC City Council voted to legalise euthanasia on Tuesday, in a move that sparked outrage among anti-euthanasia groups.
The council must still hold one final vote on the bill, possibly as early as November 15, and the Mayor, Muriel Bowser, must decide if she will sign or veto the bill.
The proposed law would permit doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to mentally independent patients who have less than six months to live.
Democrat council member Mary Cheh, who sponsored the bill, said that it would provide those “on death’s doorstep” with an “option to choose a peaceful death”.
Ms Bowser, a Democrat, has not yet voiced a position on the legislation. Writing in the Washington Times, Heritage Foundation fellow Ryan T. Anderson said that the law would be harmful to both medical practice and society:
“Changing the laws that govern how doctors operate will change the entire ecosystem of medicine. It’ll change how doctors relate to their patients and how much patients can trust their doctors...Ultimately, it will change how society views the weak and the marginalized and affect our family relationships—how we view our elders and our duties toward them.”
With the bicentenary of the publication of Mary Bysshe Shelley’s book on human enhancement approaching in 2018, it may be worth reviewing the dramatic bioethical challenge faced by Dr Frankenstein.
You may recall that Dr Victor Frankenstein assembled an eight-foot, highly intelligent, powerful male humanoid. His creation escaped but returned to plead for a female companion. With her he would emigrate to “the vast wilds of South America”. However, the good doctor fears that their progeny would compete with humankind. “A race of devils would be propagated upon earth who might make the very existence of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror.”
So he destroys his female project. Did he make the right decision? Would these creatures really have destroyed the human race?
An article in the journal BioScience has crunched the numbers for us using “competitive exclusion” theory. It turns out that had the couple escaped to South America, they would have multiplied and spread, and eliminated us within 4000 years – 4,188 years to be exact. So, at least within a framework of utilitarian ethics, Frankenstein was right. He deserves the gratitude of BioEdge readers
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