November 30, 2022

Do the demented have a duty to die?

Architect of IVF laws speaks out.
One of Britain’s leading moral philosophers and the architect of its fertility laws has suggested that people with dementia may have a duty to die because they are a burden on society.

Baroness Mary Warnock told the magazine Life and Work that "If you’re demented, you’re wasting people’s lives – your family’s lives – and you’re wasting the resources of the National Health Service. I’m absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there’s a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they’re a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

"Actually I’ve just written an article called ‘A Duty to Die?’ for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there’s nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."

She also said that there should be a license to kill people who wanted to die. "If you’ve an advance directive, appointing someone else to act on your behalf, if you become incapacitated, then I think there is a hope that your advocate may say that you would not wish to live in this condition so please try to help her die. I think that’s the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you’d be licensing people to put others down."

The interview provoked a storm of controversy in the UK. One MP, Nadine Dorries, said that her comments were highly irresponsible. "Because of her previous experiences and well-known standing on contentious moral issues, Baroness Warnock automatically gives moral authority to what are entirely immoral view points." ~ Telegraph, Sept 19

One thought on “Do the demented have a duty to die?

  1. What a shocking title! And then the quotes from Warnock show that the title was exactly the proper question to ask. Warnock’s answer would have to be “yes.”

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