[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address 54.159.129.152. Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
Invited Commentary
October 2015

Euthanasia in Belgium and the NetherlandsOn a Slippery Slope?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Population Health, Division of Medical Ethics, Langone Medical Center, New York University, New York
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(10):1640-1641. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.4086

The slippery slope is an argument frequently invoked in the world of bioethics. It connotes the notion that a particular course of action will lead inevitably to undesirable and unintended consequences. Saying no to the original action, even if that act is moral in itself, may, in light of the slope that looms, be the ethical thing to do.

Slippery slope arguments have been especially pervasive in discussions of euthanasia, in which physicians actively end patients’ lives, and physician-assisted dying (or physician-assisted suicide), in which physicians supply medications to patients that enable them to end their own lives.1,2 The concern, fueled by the German experience with racially motivated euthanasia in the last century, has been that approving either of these procedures for a few individuals will inevitably lead to overuse and abuse.

First Page Preview View Large
First page PDF preview
First page PDF preview
×