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The Case against Physician-assisted Suicide and Voluntary Active Euthanasia – A Jurisprudential Consideration

Tan Seow Hon

(2017) 29 SAcLJ 375

Twenty years after the Advance Medical Directive Act came into force in Singapore, the issue of the legalisation of physician-assisted suicide and voluntary active euthanasia remains live. By examining jurisprudential arguments, this article makes a case against legalisation. In particular, it is important to address the points raised in the article by Toh Puay San and Stanley Yeo, “Decriminalising Physician-assisted Suicide in Singapore”, as it is possibly the most comprehensive local article on this subject and includes draft legislation for legalisation in Singapore. As Toh and Yeo also considered the arguments often raised in debates on euthanasia, it is apposite to approach the jurisprudential consideration by countering their arguments. In conclusion, the contention of Toh and Yeo that the benefits of allowing terminally-ill patients the option of physician-assisted suicide far outweigh the harms is not supported. A fortiori, voluntary active euthanasia should not be legalised.