Muerte asistida: desde el “¿Debemos a hacerlo?” a “¿Quién debe hacerlo?”

En el pasado, apresurar intencionalmente la muerte de una persona siempre fue un crimen, sin importar las circunstancias. Sin embargo, las actitudes públicas han estado cambiando. Ayudar a una persona que ha pedido explícitamente morir se ve cada vez más como una acción justificable, especialmente en el contexto de una enfermedad terminal. Este es un resultado recurrente en las encuestas de opinión de los países occidentalizados.

Aún así, los entes legislativos son cautelosos a la hora de considerar posibles cambios a la ley. Hasta ahora, sólo Holanda, Bélgica y el estado de Oregon en los EE.UU. han puesto en vigencia una legislación explícita. No obstante, en muchos otros países, como el Reino Unido, Sudáfrica y Australia, están teniendo lugar discusiones políticas sobre cambios legales similares.

A medida que se debilita la oposición total a la regulación legal de la muerte asistida, los problemas relacionados con cómo aplicarla en la práctica cobran mayor importancia. Por supuesto, está la pregunta de quién califica para una muerte asistida. ¿Serían sólo los enfermos terminales? ¿Deberían caer en esta categoría, por ejemplo, las etapas tempranas del Alzheimer? ¿O incluso cualquier enfermedad o discapacidad incurable? ¿Y qué hay de la gente cuya razón para desear morir no tiene relación alguna con su condición médica?

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