World Medical Association

"Physicians-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically. The World Medical Association strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions."

"Physicians-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically."

WMA RESOLUTION ON EUTHANASIA

Adopted by the 53rd WMA General Assembly, Washington, DC, USA, October 2002 and reaffirmed with minor revision by the 194th WMA Council Session, Bali, Indonesia, April 2013


The World Medical Association’s Declaration on Euthanasia, adopted by the 38 World Medical Assembly, Madrid, Spain, October 1987 and reaffirmed by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005 states:

Euthanasia, that is the act of deliberately ending the life of a patient, even at the patient’s own request or at the request of close relatives, is unethical. This does not prevent the physician from respecting the desire of a patient to allow the natural process of death to follow its course in the terminal phase of sickness.”

The WMA Statement on Physician-Assisted Suicide, adopted by the 44th World Medical Assembly, Marbella, Spain, September 1992 and editorially revised by the 170th WMA Council Session, Divonne-les-Bains, France, May 2005 likewise states:

Physicians-assisted suicide, like euthanasia, is unethical and must be condemned by the medical profession. Where the assistance of the physician is intentionally and deliberately directed at enabling an individual to end his or her own life, the physician acts unethically. However the right to decline medical treatment is a basic right of the patient and the physician does not act unethically even if respecting such a wish results in the death of the patient.”

The World Medical Association has noted that the practice of active euthanasia with physician assistance, has been adopted into law in some countries.

BE IT RESOLVED that:

The World Medical Association reaffirms its strong belief that euthanasia is in conflict with basic ethical principles of medical practice, and The World Medical Association strongly encourages all National Medical Associations and physicians to refrain from participating in euthanasia, even if national law allows it or decriminalizes it under certain conditions.

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Download an article by three Canadians – two practicing physicians and a severely disabled individual - reflecting on the history and current significance of the WMA Resolution.


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