La mort assistée : de « Devons-nous la faire ? » à « Qui doit la faire ? »

Par le passé, la précipitation intentionnelle de la mort d’un individu a toujours été considérée comme un crime, quelles que soient les circonstances. Mais les attitudes publiques ont changé. Assister une personne qui a explicitement demandé à mourir est de plus en plus vu comme une action justifiable, tout particulièrement dans le contexte d’une maladie en phase terminale. Telle est la conclusion qui ressort de tous les sondages d’opinion réalisés dans les pays occidentalisés.

Les corps législatifs sont néanmoins prudents lorsqu’ils envisagent des possibles amendements à la loi. Jusqu’à présent, seuls les Pays-Bas, la Belgique et l’Etat de l’Oregon aux Etats-Unis ont mis en place une législation explicite. Mais des débats politiques sérieux sur des changements légaux similaires sont organisés dans plusieurs autres pays, notamment le RU, l’Afrique du Sud et l’Australie.

Comme l’opposition inflexible à la réglementation légale de la mort assistée s’affaiblit, les problèmes d’applicabilité pratique prennent par-là même plus d’ampleur. Reste bien entendu la question de savoir qui sera habilité à pratiquer une mort assistée. Cela devrait-il être uniquement la personne malade en phase terminale ? Les stades précoces de la maladie d’Alzheimer devraient-ils, par exemple, être considérés ? Ou même toute maladie ou handicap grave et incurable ? Et en ce qui concerne les personnes qui veulent mourir pour une raison qui n’a strictement aucun lien avec leur état médical ?

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