In blog, Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

Today I’d like to draw your attention to an argument against the death penalty and tie it to euthanasia and abortion.

syringeHere it is in brief:

There is the chance that an person will be convicted of a crime they aren’t guilty of, and sentenced to the death penalty. Because there is the chance an innocent person may be killed, we should not have the death penalty as an option (and instead perhaps keep those who’ve committed the worst offences in jail for the rest of their life).

Pretty straightforward (someone might even point out that there have in fact been several real-life cases of innocent people’s death sentences being overturned by better evidence being considered, but let’s just examine the ‘chance’ argument, i.e. before any real-life cases had actually been proven to happen).

I’m interested here in how this might relate to euthanasia. Let’s grant, for the sake of argument here, that some people are completely willing to die at the hands of another, in their right minds, their family haven’t coerced them, etc. In short, they are ‘suitable’ candidates for the “right-to-die” campaign.

Does this mean assisted-suicide should be legal in NZ? What about the people who might feel coerced to die (sort of like the innocent person killed via the death sentence)? Surely one must grant the possibility that people like this might exist. Perhaps they would be 1% of those killed under a law change. Maybe 30%. I don’t know. But there is a chance, and among other reasons, I think this is a powerful one against euthanasia being introduced. Innocent people might get iced.

Finally, how does this tie into abortion? The argument is sometimes heard that no-one really knows when life begins. If there’s a 50-50 chance that a new human being with full human rights comes into existence at conception, then it seems pretty clear-cut that the “no-one knows” argument actually works against the right to abortion. Even if there was a 1% chance, it easily outnumbers wrongful deaths from the death penalty. And there are none more innocent than those in the womb.

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