Controversy in the UK on assisted dying and "suicide tourism" to Switzerland : Possible effects of cross-border health care on domestic regulations


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  • 英国における自殺幇助をめぐる論争とスイスへの渡航幇助自殺 : 渡航医療が国内医療の法規制に及ぼす影響の一考察

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In this article, the authors argue that so-called "suicide tourism" from the UK to Switzerland can be seen as one form of medical tourism in which domestic regulations of both the patient's home and destination countries may gain impetus for policy changes. There has been tension between the domestic regulations in the UK and the reality of suicide tourism. Although the Suicide Act of 1961 prohibits someone from assisting or encouraging another to commit suicide, family members who have assisted patients to commit suicide abroad have never been prosecuted. It led to changes in the rules of prosecution following the decision by the House of Lords which upheld Ms Purdy's request to clarify the conditions on which the Director of Public Prosecutions decides whether or not to prosecute someone for helping a loved one to end their life abroad. The authors suggest that while suicide tourism may not be as important and urgent as other bioethics topics in Japan at present, the careful analysis of this phenomenon will be useful if we recognize that other forms of medical tourism such as transplant tourism and reproductive tourism may have similar effects on regulations and controversies of both the patient's home and destination countries including Japan.


  • Bioethics

    Bioethics 22 (1), 75-85, 2012

    Japan Association for Bioethics

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