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July 1983

Passive Euthanasia

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(7):1492. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350070220044

To the Editor.  —The article entitled "Passive Euthanasia of Patients With Down's Syndrome" by Fost published in the December 1982 Archives (142: 2295) is curiously contradictory. Fost accurately points out that the major reason for promoting passive euthanasia (a curious euphemism in itself) is the belief that it serves the best interest of the parents. Euthanasia or the killing of children with Down's syndrome would relieve the parents of an intolerable social, psychological, and financial burden.Correctly he stated that such a policy, at its most fundamental level, implies the following:... that a retarded child's life may be subject to his parents' needs or desires. Even it if were true that parents unavoidably suffer because of a child, it would not follow that they could bring about the child's death as a solution to their problems.Clearly the needs of the child must come first.Unfortunately, in the next paragraph

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