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World Bioethics Day: Medical Aid in Dying Debate

In observance of World Bioethics Day on October 19, Indiana University Northwest invites the campus and community to a debate about the legalization of medical aid in dying.

Moderated by Susan Zinner, professor of public and environmental affairs, the debate is set for 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19 in the Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium, located in the Savannah Center.

Medical aid in dying is a practice in which a terminally ill individual requests medication from a doctor in order to facilitate a peaceful death rather than unbearable suffering. This is different than assisted suicide. In order to receive medical aid in dying, two physicians must confirm the patient’s terminal illness in addition to their mental capability to make decisions.

According to Zinner, who will moderate the discussion, advocates of state laws to legalize medical aid in dying argue that this approach is respectful of patient autonomy because it allows them to choose the manner of their death. Furthermore, some research indicates many terminally ill patients request these medications and choose not to use them prior to their death. Those opposing the legalization of medical aid in dying believe that administration of these medications is virtually the same as murder and that physicians should not be involved in the process.

The participants in the debate will include Dan Lowery, former IU Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs faculty member, and recently retired Chancellor of Calumet College of St. Joseph, who opposes this approach; and Bev Hmurovic, president of the Indiana Chapter of Compassion and Choices, who supports this approach.

Created by the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics in 2015, World Bioethics Day marks the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights by the 33rd Session of the General Conference of UNESCO on October 19, 2005. The declaration was signed by 192 countries. All units of the UNESCO Bioethics Chair worldwide now conduct celebrations each year to bring attention to issues of bioethics.

This is IU Northwest’s second year observing World Bioethics Day. This internationally recognized observance provides an opportunity for the campus and community to engage in discussions on a myriad of issues related to bioethics, inspiring students, staff, faculty and the community to examine the broad scope of bioethical issues and their impact.

For more information, contact Susan Zinner at 219-980-6836.

Thursday October 19, 2017 05:30 PM
Thursday October 19, 2017 06:30 PM
Bruce W. Bergland Auditorium, Savannah Center
Susan Zinner
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