Now Available to Watch: ‘Assisted Dying: eugenics, euthanasia and medicine’

Two weeks ago, the Anscombe Centre co-organised a discussion panel for the University of London’s ‘Inter-Faith Week’ on the subject of ‘Assisted Dying: eugenics, euthanasia and medicine’.

This is the introductory speech by Prof. David Albert Jones, who is Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, and Professor of Bioethics at St Mary's University, Twickenham. His DPhil from Oxford was on the theology of death and dying. He is co-editor, with Prof Chris Gastmans and Dr Calum MacKellar, of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Lessons from Belgium (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

The panel considered the place of euthanasia in the context of the history of eugenics. It was not only in Nazi Germany but also in England and the United States that euthanasia was promoted for the same reasons as eugenics, the characterising of some citizens as a burden on the state. The current debate over euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) is framed very differently but similar concerns about equality and vulnerability remain.
This is not only a faith issue but it is one that has had a profound effect on religious minorities in the past. The hope of participants is that interfaith discussion can help illuminate the debate over “assisted dying” and in this way contribute to the common good of society.

This event was co-sponsored by the Anscombe Centre with the University Jewish Chaplaincy and Catholic Chaplaincy for London’s Universities at Newman House. You can watch the entire discussion, here.

Ahead of the inter-faith discussion, we published the Position Paper of the Abrahamic Monotheistic Religions on Matters Concerning the End of Life produced by the Pontifical Academy for Life and signed by Christian, Muslim, and Jewish scholars and leaders in 2019, as part of our series of briefing papers on euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS).

The papers in our EAS series clarify the issues at stake in the social, political, and medical discussion, examining the definitions concerning, and practical consequences of legalising physician involvement in assisting a patient to end their own life, or directly causing their death. You can read the full briefing paper series on its dedicated page on our website, here.

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