Session: End-of-Life Care and Physician-Aid-in-Dying
Using Past Injustices to Correct Future Harms: Revising the Criteria for Physician-Aid-in-Dying
Friday, October 13, 2023
8:00 AM – 9:15 AM ET
Location: Heron (Fourth Floor)
A new subset of cases has arisen due to the proposed extension of physician-aid-in-dying (PAD) to psychiatric disorders: cases of “poverty-induced” depression. PAD is morally permissible if a patient: (i) experiences unbearable suffering, (ii) has a hopeless prognosis, and (iii) is competent to make a decision. Parity theorists of PAD argue that if the criteria for PAD are correct, individuals with mental illnesses should be allowed to request PAD under certain conditions. The purpose of this talk is to suggest that parity theorists face a moral dilemma: their accounts allow for poverty-induced depression cases to be candidates for PAD, which could deepen social injustice and perpetuate the oppression of the most socially vulnerable. Historical past injustices show us that PAD is a medical solution not fit to solve social injustices. This argument recommends that all three elements of PAD criteria need revising not to permit PAD to become a viable solution for social injustices in the future.