The good ol' days of Flower Power
How should we explain the recent success of the assisted dying lobby in the US and Canada?
Bioethicist and euthanasia advocate Udo Schuklenk suggests the baby boomer generation has played a particularly important role in challenging ‘antiquated’ social conventions about death and end-of-life issues.
In an editorial in the journal Bioethics, Schuklenk suggests that assisted dying is a very relevant issue for the ageing baby boomers (aged between 52 and 70 years), and it now seems to have become a focus for their “revolutionary sentiments”:
“It is not terribly surprising, with baby boomer finding themselves – perhaps to their greatest surprise - at the levers of power of the system that they rebelled against in the 1960s and 1970s, that the number of jurisdictions that have decriminalised assisted dying is steadily increasing. Many legislators and judges are baby boomers. Just as baby boomers fought hard for the right to live their life by their own lights, they were bound not to hand control over to others when it came to their own dying.”
Schuklenk suggests that the question for most baby boomers is not whether assisted dying should be legalised, but rather under what circumstances:
“The next frontier for our baby boomer legislators and judges, undoubtedly, will be the issue of scope, when it comes to assisted dying. Should it be patient choice, irreversibility of the disease condition and unbearable quality of life as decision-making criteria, or should impending death be added as another necessary condition?”
A 2015 U.S. Gallup Poll found that 61% of adults 55 or older thought doctors should be allowed to assist terminally ill patients to commit suicide. Support was, nevertheless, lower in this demographic than younger age brackets.
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