Euthanasia debate. Absence of shared basic positions respect to the concept of the dignity of human life
Ignacio Sánchez Cámara, Professor of Philosophy of Law at the University Rey Juan Carlos, discussed “the value and dignity of the end-stage of life” in a recent article. In it he states: “The attitude that we adopt regarding the lawfulness of euthanasia depends on the position that we hold with respect to the value and dignity of the life of terminally-ill patients.
Differences about the concept of the dignity of human life
The ethical and moral debates of our time suffer from a defect that stems from the absence of shared basic positions. Nevertheless, it is not impossible, albeit difficult, to sustain them. In terms of the dignity of human life, they dispute at least two stances. For one person, the dignity of life depends on preserving an essential quality, such as autonomy, self-determination or the absence of intense suffering. For another, dignity, inherent to the person from their birth until their death, does not depend on any quality or property. For that person, suffering is not a negation of the dignity of life. The latter is philosophically more correct. In any case, the distinction between morality and right must not be overlooked […] Euthanasia involves the assumption of the principle that there are lives that do not deserve to be lived, which are, therefore, unworthy even if the patient wants to live” (Cuadernos de Bioética. 2019;30(98): 43-53).