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Navigating Impasses in Bioethics: End of Life, Disability, and Mental Illness

This project aims to discuss issues arising from current legislation on medically assisted suicide for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and mental illnesses.

The contentious issues surrounding the debate on consent and physician-assisted suicide reach difficult impasses when applied to people suffering with mental health problems and disabilities.  Should euthanasia be granted on the grounds of mental health suffering? What are the challenges and risks of this practice for policy making? How are the views of disability rights movements affecting assisted suicide laws? How is the general perception of disabled lives (in terms of value, dignity, agency) affecting this debate and what consequences does it have for our society?

In order to facilitate discussion, contributors will present their papers at a one-day workshop, which will take place in Cambridge on Friday 8th December 2017. This workshop aims to provide a unique setting to bring together divergent, often conflicting, perspectives (legal, medical, ethical, anthropological, philosophical, and theological) to re-think and re-image some of the key concepts involved in this discussion, such as quality of life, dignified death, autonomy/dependency, mental capacity, unbearable suffering, cultural and social attitudes toward disability.

This event is co-sponsored by the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy (University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, USA) and the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics and Human Rights (Rome, Italy).




SPECIAL WORKSHOP ISSUE: selected papers from this workshop have been published as a special issue of the Journal of Disability and Religion (Taylor & Francis).

If you are interested in this project and for any other questions please contact the project coordinators: Dr Thana Campos; Dr Lidia Ripamonti


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