“You Got Me Into This…”: Procreative Responsibility and Its Implications for Suicide and Euthanasia

In Michael Cholbi & Jukka Varelius (eds.), New Directions in the Ethics of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia. Cham: Springer Verlag. pp. 167-180 (2015)
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Abstract

This paper investigates connections between procreative ethics and the ethics of suicide and euthanasia. While there are good reasons for distinguishing between lives worth starting and lives worth continuing, I argue that those reasons provide no reason for denying that there is a relationship between procreative and end of life ethics. Regarding euthanasia/assisted suicide, we might think it too demanding to ask parents to help euthanize their terminally ill, suffering child, but had the parents not procreated, thereby exposing their child to life's risks, their child wouldn't need euthanizing. If you need help killing yourself, shouldn't your parents, who got you into life in the first place – without your consent – help you out of it? Yet knowing that your parents would help you kill yourself may increase your desire to die. A conundrum. Regarding suicide, the fact that we are forced into life should bolster the right to suicide, even for reasons that others might find wanting. The ways in which we are brought into life have moral implications for the ways in which we are entitled to get out of it.

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Rivka Weinberg
Scripps College

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