17-April-2001 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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SOUTH KOREAN DOCTORS PUSH FOR EUTHANASIA

SEOUL, (CWNews.com) - The Korean Medical Association has proposed allowing doctors to kill their patients upon request, setting up what they call passive euthanasia.

The group which represents 70,000 South Korean doctors has adopted a new ethics code which will give them permission to accept written requests from family members to kill patients who are suffering. Experts said the code was designed to allow doctors to conduct what they called a passive form of euthanasia, which is illegal in South Korea.

The government, however, said it would not allow such killings. "The ethics code would be against South Korea's criminal law," said an official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare. "It is too early for South Korea to launch a debate on assisted suicide," the official said.

The doctors said their main impetus was not the suffering of patients, but the anger of families of terminally ill patients who demand a halt to medical treatment due to mounting bills.

"We are not seeking the legalization of euthanasia," a KMA official said. "However, it is necessary for doctors to allow terminally ill patients who may be suffering from unbearable pain to die in peace."

"No third person should be given the possibility to legally kill another human being," the Korean National Council of Churches said in a statement.

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