Defending the indefensible? Psychiatry, assisted suicide and human freedom

Parker, Malcolm (2013) Defending the indefensible? Psychiatry, assisted suicide and human freedom. International Journal of Law And Psychiatry, 36 5-6: 485-497. doi:10.1016/j.ijlp.2013.06.007

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Author Parker, Malcolm
Title Defending the indefensible? Psychiatry, assisted suicide and human freedom
Journal name International Journal of Law And Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0160-2527
Publication date 2013-07-09
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ijlp.2013.06.007
Open Access Status
Volume 36
Issue 5-6
Start page 485
End page 497
Total pages 13
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The siege guns of the forces for change to euthanasia and assisted suicide laws have been pounding for decades, but the longstanding proscription on these practices has held out in all but a few jurisdictions. A few psychiatrists have enlisted with the challengers, but many remain on the battlements, defending the impermissibility of active assistance in dying. Given the long history of the separation of church and state and the significant secularisation of society; the recognition by the law of both acts and omissions as legal causes; lenient sentences for mercy killers; critiques of the “psychiatriatisation” of different aspects of life; and the consistency of public opinion, this recalcitrant stand bespeaks undercurrents and positions that are often by rationalised or camouflaged, and which call for exploration. In this paper, I examine connections between psychiatry and conceptualisations of harm, suffering and natural death; medicalisation, psychiatrisation and medical paternalism; decision-making capacity, rationality and diagnosis; recent legal developments; social pluralism; and religious intuitionism. I conclude that psychiatrists and the psychiatry profession, concerned as they are with enlarging the province of human freedom, should begin a more transparent rapprochement with those they would repel.
Keyword Acts and omissions
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online: 9 July 2013.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 25 Oct 2013, 09:06:30 EST by Dr Malcolm Parker on behalf of School of Medicine