Euthanasie dans Cycnos


Cycnos | Volume 28 n° Spécial

« Tu ne tueras point ». Perspectives sur le suicide assisté en Grande-Bretagne

In Britain, euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. According to the 1961 Suicide Act, aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the suicide of another is a crime punishable by up to fourteen years of imprisonment. This has led more than a hundred British citizens to so-called “death tourism” in the last few years. Many have travelled to the Swiss clinic of organisation Dignitas which accompanies dying patients and assist them with “a self-determined end of life”.1 The debate over the liberalisation of end-of-life practices is currently raging in Britain. There are more and more advocates of the decriminilisation or legalisation of assisted suicide. According to a ComRes 2010 poll, 73% of people agreed that family or friends should not fear prosecution if they help a loved one to die.2But the law sets a clear line: “thou shalt not kill”, the life of other people cannot be taken. People may not choose the time and manner in which they die. Is this simply a refusal of the “right to die in dignity” (in the words of Sir Terry Pratchett and other right-to-die campaigners)? Why do doctors, politicians, and religious leaders refuse to change the law or to see it changed? Here are some of the questions this paper will address.

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