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Region: England, Wales and Northern Ireland


A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today

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Key terms explained

Key terms explained:

Euthanasia: The word comes from two Greek words meaning 'good death.' It usually refers to the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

Assisted suicide: Providing a terminally ill person with the means to take their own life.

Voluntary euthanasia: The situation where someone with a terminal illness asks a doctor to end his/her life painlessly.

Non-voluntary euthanasia: Ending someone's life painlessly when they are unable to ask but you have a good reason to think they would want you to do so.

Terminal illness: When a person is suffering from an illness that cannot be cured and will end in death.

Hospice: A place dedicated to the care of terminally ill patients.

Doctrine of Double Effect: The idea that if a person takes an action to attain an effect knowing that it will produce another, they cannot be blamed for the second effect occurring. Therefore, if a doctor has to prescribe a pain-killing drug to stop the pain of an advanced cancer patient but the pain killers have another effect of killing the patient, that's OK, because the aim is to relieve the pain NOT kill the patient.

EXIT: The Voluntary Euthanasia Society within the UK believes that everyone should have the right to die when and how they want.