Europas „Sterbehilfe-Kultur“

Mit der Möglichkeit, das Leben des Menschen drastisch zu verlängern, schuf die moderne Technologie auch eine Unmenge neuer praktischer und moralischer Probleme. Lebensverlängernde Behandlungsmethoden verursachen aufgrund ihrer Technologie- und Arbeitsintensivität vielfach hohe Kosten.

In kapitalistischen Ländern hat dies unter Umständen zur Folge, daß die Armen und sogar die Mittelschicht von den neuen Leistungen ausgeschlossen bleiben. Aufgrund der humanitären und moralischen Implikationenen erscheint eine angemessene Auseinandersetzung mit diesem Problem unumgänglich. Kritiker der freien Marktwirtschaft äußern Bedenken, daß Menschen nur wegen ihres zu geringen Einkommens nicht in den Genuß eines längeren Lebens kommen. Sie verweisen auf die wohlfahrtsstaatliche Praxis der nordeuropäischen Länder, in denen die Allokation von Gesundheitsleistungen nicht über den Preismechanismus erfolgt.

Indes bringt der wohlfahrtsstaatliche Umgang mit lebensverlängernden Behandlungsmethoden vielleicht noch schwerwiegendere ethische Probleme mit sich als der marktwirtschaftliche Ansatz. Denn angesichts aufgeblähter Haushaltsdefizite sieht sich der Wohlfahrtsstaat neuerdings zu kostenbewußterem Handeln genötigt und spart beim Einsatz lebensverlängernder Technologien. Überdies kristallisiert sich im Zuge der Legalisierung von ärztlicher Sterbehilfe in manchen nordeuropäischen Ländern eine regelrechte „Sterbehilfe-Kultur“ heraus. Lebensverlängernde Technologien kommen zunehmend außer Mode, wohingegen die aktive Beendigung des Lebens kranker alter Menschen vielfach als „humane Sterbebegleitung“ gelobt wird.

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