The suicide tourist trap

July 31, 2009
The suicide tourist trap

The international media report that citizens from across the world are travelling, or seeking to travel, to Switzerland, where they hope to be helped to die. But this 'suicide tourism' presents distinctive ethical, legal and practical challenges.

In a paper published online in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Dr Richard Huxtable from the University of Bristol explores three issues associated with this phenomenon:

• how to define 'suicide tourism' and 'assisted tourism'— where the suicidal individual is helped to travel to take up the option of assisted dying;

• the legality of assisted suicide tourism, particularly in the English legal system where there has been considerable recent activity;

• and the ethical dimensions of the practice.

He argues that the suicide tourist—and specifically any accomplice thereof -- risks springing a legal trap, but that there is good reason to prefer a more tolerant policy, premised on compromise and ethical pluralism.

Richard Huxtable is Deputy Director of the Centre for Ethics in Medicine at the University of Bristol. His primary research is in the areas of end-of-life decision-making and surgical ethics, and he has published widely in medical, legal and bioethical journals, in addition to authoring the book Euthanasia, and the Law: From Conflict to Compromise (2007, Routledge-Cavendish).

More information: www.springerlink.com/content/t2206018626q8745/

Provided by University of Bristol (news : web)

Explore further: Nanoethics -- The watchdog of a new technology?

Related Stories

Nanoethics -- The watchdog of a new technology?

June 21, 2007

The field of nanotechnology is broad and has the potential to be used in a wide range of industries and fields, but the question is whether it is a good investment. Will it solve fundamental social problems that assure a ...

UK: Suicide rates in young men at lowest levels since 1970s

February 15, 2008

The reasons for the steady decline in suicides among young people in the UK are explored in two studies by researchers from the University of Bristol published on bmj.com today. The studies were carried out in collaboration ...

Does the internet really influence suicidal behavior?

April 11, 2008

People searching the Internet for information about suicide methods are most likely to come across sites that encourage suicide rather than sites offering help and support, finds a study in this week’s issue of the BMJ.

Recommended for you

Amateur paleontologist finds rare fossil of fish in Arizona

September 3, 2015

Growing up, Stephanie Leco often would dig in her backyard and imagine finding fossils of a tyrannosaurus rex. She was fascinated with the idea of holding something in her hand that was millions of years old and would give ...

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

7 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Soylent
5 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2009
The only ethical dimension to this are the possible transgressions of its authority by the state in trying to prevent it.
stuclach
3 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2009
@Soylent - EXACTLY.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2009
They're just displeased because everyone pays for the vacation on their credit card.
jsovine
5 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2009
They're just displeased because everyone pays for the vacation on their credit card.


Haha
freethinking
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 31, 2009
If Obama care comes into effect, the Government will send sick and dying to Switzerland to be cured of life.
VOR
not rated yet Aug 02, 2009
omg freethinking is back with more wisdom. crawl back into your den of ignorance and stfu. better yet we'd all be glad to chip in for a one way ticket for you to Switzerland. Not to die, but to learn that there are some countries less ignorant than ours that take better care of themselves and have happier people with higher standards of living.
Velanarris
not rated yet Aug 02, 2009
omg freethinking is back with more wisdom. crawl back into your den of ignorance and stfu. better yet we'd all be glad to chip in for a one way ticket for you to Switzerland. Not to die, but to learn that there are some countries less ignorant than ours that take better care of themselves and have happier people with higher standards of living.


Which would be why Switzerland has always had a per capita suicide rate that is 4000 times greater than the global average, and that was before it was legal.

I'm assuming you've read the healthcare bill, all 1200 pages of it. Tell me, what will a single person in the 20's be entitled to if they come down with Pancreatic cancer?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.