Human Exceptionalism

Israel Not Doing Euthanasia by Machine

This story in the Telegraph is stupid. Israel has passed a law permitting life support to be terminated. That isn’t euthanasia as it is now commonly understood: It is ending unwanted life-sustaining treatment.

I am not criticizing Jewish law, but the legal analysis engaged in by the Israeli lawmakers seems very bizarre to me. Under Jewish law, it is apparently illegal to kill someone in the medical context, which is good. But Israeli lawmakers want doctors to be able to remove unwanted life support, but worry that to do so would be killing. So, they have decided to have machines do it, as if programming a machine isn’t the same thing as a person doing it.

This seems so unncessary. Removing a respirator that is not wanted is not killing. If the person dies–he or she might live–it would be from underlying condition, not by an act of man.

So, despite the headline, Isreal has not legalized euthanasia. It has permitted the refusal of unwanted treatment, but has done so in an unnecessarily convoluted manner.


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