Dragons in the Sunset: The Allure of Assisted Death
Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice
There are two profoundly different understandings of assisted death. Proponents regard assisted death as manifesting compassion and respect for human dignity; opponents see it as a rejection of life and a threat to the weak and vulnerable. The debate about the moral and legal permissibility of assisted death is so troubling and obdurate because both understandings are credible. This paper distinguishes the moral and public policy aspects of the issue; surveys the principal moral and social considerations on both sides; rejects the suggestion that the controversy should be decided by public opinion polls; and outlines seven matters crucial to a resolution. The aim is to engender a more comprehensive, informed, and relevant debate than has occurred so far in Canada.