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The Corner

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Dehydration to ...



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The next move in this chess match is obvious. Having won the battle over the dehydration of Terri Schiavo, the partisans of euthanasia will claim that their victory validates the right to bring about death, pursuant to a fact finding that a patient in a severely debilitated condition would want to die, by withholding nutrition and hydration. They will then make the point that there is no logical or moral difference between bringing about death by deprivation of food and water, and bringing about death by painlessly administering a lethal dose. The precise object of the act or omission in either case is to cause the death of a patient who, if supplied with nourishment and fluids, would go on living against her will (or the will of the person exercising “substituted judgment” on her behalf). They will further observe that the lethal dose is quicker, considerably cheaper, and avoids any possible risk that the person whose desire for death is being honored would suffer during the period of deprivation of nourishment and fluids. And the answer to their argument is . . . ?



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