General Article The slippery slope argument

Topic Selected: Euthanasia
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Background on the slippery slope argument

Much of the opposition to the legalisation of assisted dying is based on the fear that voluntary requests from patients for physician aid in dying would soon be expanded to allow for patients to make advance directives for euthanasia upon the meeting of particular physical conditions. It would then be further expanded to decisions for euthanasia being made by surrogates or health care agents. Finally, it would expand to the involuntary euthanasia of incompetent patients whom physicians or others believe no longer have any quality of life. The expansion of patient rights to include the use of advance directives and surrogates for euthanasia might bear some truth, as the use of advance directives and surrogate decision-making which can result in a patient’s death is seen to be valid under certain conditions in several countries. In the USA, for example, court rulings from the Quinlan decision to the Cruzan decision have upheld

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