A common worry raised
by some opponents of the right-to-die
is that disadvantaged
will be coerced into 'choosing' death
prematurely—before death would be a wise choice for them.
experience of Oregon in the USA shows no such pattern.
But if the patient and/or the proxies are worried
about the right-to-die
becoming the duty-to-die
they can choose to have their life-ending decisions
reviewed by people especially attuned to their
This safeguard should be completely at the option
the patient and/or the proxies,
since most people will not be worried about being 'railroaded' into
because they belong to a disfavored group in society.
The patient's Advance Directive for Medical Care
might be a good place to make a special request
for such a review of any life-ending decisions in the future.
The maker of the Advance Directive could take that opportunity
to suggest exactly what individual or group might be most appropriate
to review any life-ending decisions that might be made
after the patient is no longer able to make medical choices.
If any member of a disadvantaged group
believes that the right-to-die could never
be applied rationally
to any patient belonging to his or her group,
then he or she should rule
out any and all life-ending decisions
in his or her Advance Directive for Medical Care.
A comprehensive Advance Directive for Medical Care
should address precisely this Question.
Here is one formulation of the Question about the right-to-die:
16: Do you endorse more active means of
ending your life?
you believe you have a right-to-die?
death? Merciful death?
The person who fears being forced to die because of group-identity
would say "no" to this Question:
"For myself, I reject any so-called 'right-to-die'."
The most radical members of some disability groups
do take this position.
They might say something like the following in their Advance Directives:
"The question of the right-to-die should never be considered for me
because of the overwhelming danger
of others choosing premature death for me because of my disability."
Any person with such worries will choose proxies, consultants, &
who will always say no
to any suggestion of a chosen death.
However, some members of less-favored groups
can see beyond the issue of possible discrimination
and do want to keep all of
their options open
including the option of choosing a wise death at an appropriate time.
In specifying any such special advocate
the patient will select some individual or group
in sympathy with their own settled values about life and death.
For example, a member of a minority group
might select a leader of that minority community
to review any
And if the patient wants to affirm the right-to-die,
this special advocate must be
open to that option
It would make no sense for the special consultant always to
just because of the generalized worry that members
of that minority group might be
Members of all identifiable
should have the same rights
In some cases, the mental limitations
might be a possible basis for discrimination.
Then, consultants who work with the mentally-challenged and
might be appointed
review any life-ending decisions for such
patients can appoint consultants
to protect them against discrimination on the basis of such