"The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice and strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it"
A parliament member of the Swedish Fokpartiet – a right wing conservative party, formerly liberal - has presented a law-proposal to the Swedish Parliament to make euthanasia (aktiv dödshjälp) legal in this country of only nine million population and among the largest inhabitant/geographic –area ratio in Europe.
The information is given in an article by Mats Carlbom in today's Dagens Nyheter (DN), page 16 ("Fp-politiker kräver att Sverige tillåter aktiv dödshjälp"). DN is Sweden main newspaper. The article is not yet on-line. There is also a reportage on this initiative by journalist Mari Forssblad in the Swedish Radio, and an article in Eskilstuna Kuriren (8/10) samt i Dagens Medicin.
Euthanasia-like initiatives have largely been dismissed in Europe for its historical association with the similar racist laws in Nazi-German, particularly aimed to the killing of the immigrant population of Jewish ascendance.
Nevertheless, propositions for modern euthanasia aimed to assist death in individuals – for instance undergoing terminal diseases - have occasionally been put forward by political parties otherwise also known by their harder anti-immigrant legislation stand in comparison to other parties of the political spectra.
One argument pro euthanasia has been the otherwise high rates of suicide in European countries. In Sweden, however, the suicide rate has been very much on the decrease since the 90’s.
The current argument used by the right wing Folkpartiet is utterly irrelevant, for not calling it plain stupid:
In fact, the author of the parliament proposition, Eva Flyborg, arguments that this should be considered since in other locations in the world death-help it is indeed allowed. For which she could only list, as she tell Swedish main newspaper Dagens Nyheter, “Switzerland, Belgium and the American state Oregon”.
Hence, following her reasoning, if we put together all the countries in the world (n= 195) and all the states in the USA (n= 50) we get into the Folkpartiet logical proposition on that we have to do so because 1,2 per cent of all “world locations” practice euthanasia legally”!
How come that a Folkpartiet MP would count USA states together with other countries in the world in the same category of world-locations (“flera håll I världen”)?
It could be argued on my contention that I should restrain from being hilarious about this – in consideration of the seriousness of the subject. But the fact is that just few days ago I published here a post with the title “Bildt, Björklund & Co. More Americans than the American their selves” (Bildt, Björklund & Co. Mer amerikaner än amerikanernas själva). Jan Björklund is the chairman of the here commented Folkpartiet.
Another Folkpartiet’s member of its leadership, Erik Ullenhag, has said this does not necessarily represent the line of the party. But, at the same time he manifests clearly that a serious ill patient that is capable top make his/her own decisions should be able to deny to her life-line supply at health care settings. Which is very much the same that Fyborg's actual proposition’s content.
Both interpretations from these politicians of the Swedish Folkpartiet are directly against several resolutions taken by the World Medical Association.
In the last of such resolution it is clearly stated:
THE WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION ON EUTHANASIA
1. The World Medical Association's Declaration on Euthanasia, adopted by the 38th World Medical Assembly, Madrid, Spain, October 1987, states:"Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient's own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness."
2. The WMA Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide, adopted by the 44th World Medical Assembly, Marbella, Spain, September 1992 likewise states:"Physicians-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically. However the right to decline medical treatment is a basic right of the patient and the physician does not act unethically even if respecting such a wish results in the death of the patient."
3. The World Medical Association has noted that the practice of active euthanasia with physician assistance, has been adopted into law in some countries.
4. BE IT RESOLVED that:
1. The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice, and
2. The World Medical Association strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions.
The Folkpartiet's proposal in full text (Swedish) can be found here
Marcello Ferrada-Noli 8/10 2008
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