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People’s initiative in favour of active euthanasia

July 20th, 2013

A leading liberal pundit supports the initiators of a campaign demanding the authorisation of active euthanasia.

An Ngo specialised in palliative care is collecting signatures from supporters of their initiative ”to allow adults suffering from incurable lethal illnesses to take medical assistance with the aim of terminating their lives”. Parliament is obliged to discuss the issue in case 50 thousand audited signatures are submitted. Passive euthanasia (officially called “refusing life-maintaining therapy”) was authorised under the Public Health Act in 1997, but is only practiced in exceptionally rare cases. Euthanasia is highly unpopular both among the general public and among medical practitioners.

In Népszabadság, Sándor Révész does not expect the possible parliamentary debate to yield any positive results. He accuses MPs on all sides of cowardice and blames them for not passing detailed regulations that would make at least passive euthanasia (legally accessible since 1997) applicable in practice. Révész thinks the authorisation of active euthanasia should logically follow from the general trend of secularisation. People attach more and more importance to their lives on this Earth and less and less importance to their afterlives, he argues, therefore unnecessary suffering makes less and less sense. In other terms, he explains, the refusal of euthanasia is a position based on religious principles, that people thinking otherwise should not be compelled to follow. An advanced secular state and active euthanasia, Révész concludes, are mutually inseparable.

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