08/21/2013, 00.00
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Korea, Catholics against euthanasia: A horrible way to cut medical costs

by Joseph Yun Li-sun
The National Commission of Bioethics sends a "recommendation” to Parliament for the legalization of ending treatment for patients in a vegetative state and terminal phase. The Director of the Catholic Institute of Bioethics tells AsiaNews: "The risks of abuse of a patient’s will are very high. Measures are needed to ensure the dignity of life. "

Seoul (AsiaNews) - A "recommendation" in favor of euthanasia sent by the National Commission of Bioethics to the Korean parliament has sparked reactions from civil society, with Catholics at the forefront in denouncing "abuses and distortions" which "stem primarily from a desire to cut medical costs with no respect for human life", Ku In-hoe, director of the Institute of Bioethics at the Catholic University of Korea Tells AsiaNews.

The proposal presented by the Commission - which rose to public prominence in the country for allowing the research of Dr. Hwang Woo-suk, who falsely claimed he could clone humans - recommend that doctors stop life-prolonging treatment for vegetative or terminally ill patients. According to the text "a document stating the patient's will is necessary," but for terminal or unconscious patients "it should be the family to decide".

Professor Ku In-hoe tells AsiaNews that the proposal "could be abused by people hoping to manipulate patients in a vulnerable position. Without addressing the moral issue, there are huge holes legislation. For example, if there is no precise and documented will, you can not put a person's life in the hands of a third party because this would violate the human and civil rights of the patient."

The academic adds, "There is the risk of abusing the law or violating basic civil rights when the patient's own will is unclear. If the decision is made only based on testimonies by third persons, such as the doctors, family members or an attorney, the patient's own will may be distorted," said Ku. "For example, family members may distort the decision due to their financial burden or inheritance problems. Therefore, extra safety measures should complement such loopholes in the law. Though we are opposed regardless, because life is sacred. "


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