Gladio Gemma

Dignity and euthanasia: there is no contradiction. Short notes regarding a recent writing of a Catholic Constitutional Law scholar

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Dignity; Self-Determination; Palliative Treatments; Legal Paternalism; Constitutionalism.

This essay aims at describing and criticizing the thesis of a Constitutional Law book regarding bioethics. The Author of the book holds that dignity prevails over self-determination; it follows that the voluntary surrender of life and euthanasia should be forbidden. At the same time the Author praises palliative treatments and justifies the refusal of medical treatments by the patient. Two arguments are put forward in this paper against the aforementioned theses. First, the ban on voluntary surrender of life is grounded on legal paternalism, a doctrine that clashes with the founding principles of a liberal democracy and with the Constitution. Second, there is a contradiction between the tenet according to which life cannot be renounced and the legality of refusal of medical treatments by the patient.

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