Last updated on: 8/22/2007 | Author:

John Keown, DPhil, PhD Biography

Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics at Georgetown University
Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"

“In short, it would be misguided to assume that, if VAE [voluntary active euthanasia] were legalised, current attitudes among patients, doctors and health providers would remain the same and that VAE would be limited to rare ‘hard cases’. Like abortion, VAE would probably become a commonly performed elective procedure. The evidence from the Netherlands, not least the ‘shift’ noted by Dr Van Delden towards the increasing performance of VAE as an alternative to palliative care, strengthens this prediction…

The enormous contribution made by the hospice movement shows what can be done, given sufficient commitment, skill, training and resources, to provide quality care for patients at the end of life. There is no need for any dying person to experience unbearable suffering. The inadequate care that too many patients experience, even in wealthy, developed countries like the UK and the USA, is a shameful indictment of the shortcomings of society’s attitude towards the sick and the dying. It is, however, an indictment of society’s failure to provide adequate care, not society’s prohibition of intentional killing.”

Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy: An Argument Against Legalisation, 2002

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Governor of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, 1990-2002
  • Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Christian Ethics, Georgetown University
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Bioethics, John Paul II Institute for Marriage & Family, Melbourne
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, University of Oxford, 1985
  • MA, Law, University of Cambridge, 1984
  • BA, (Honours), Law, University of Cambridge, 1980
  • None found