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November 2, 1970

Officiously to Keep Alive?

JAMA. 1970;214(5):905-907. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03180050059012

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To many physicians, euthanasia is a euphemism for murder. And having said that, there can be no further discussion on the matter. However, if American medicine bears any relation to British, euthanasia is being practiced to a wide extent. In the face of unpalatable reality, one can cry "ethics," like the boy who cried "wolf," too often. The profession must be amenable to serious debate on the subject, and a glance at the situation in Britain makes a good starting point.

In England, euthanasia has three times in the last 34 years been the subject of serious debate in the House of Lords. The most recent occasion was in 1969 when Lord Raglan moved the second reading of his Voluntary Euthanasia bill. The noble lords defeated the motion by a vote of 61 to 40. Subsequently, Lord Raglan's bill, and the subject of euthanasia in general as it affects physicians,