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A citizens' jury on euthanasia/assisted dying: Does informed deliberation change people's views?

journal contribution
posted on 2021-12-17, 01:19 authored by S Walker, R Egan, Jessica YoungJessica Young, C Jaye, C Jackson
Euthanasia or assisted dying (EAD) remains a highly contentious issue internationally. Although polls report that a majority New Zealanders support EAD, there are concerns about the framing of the polling questions, and that those responding to the questions do not know enough about the situations described, the options available and the potential implications of EAD policy. One way to address these concerns is through a citizens' jury, which is a method of learning how a group of people view an issue following informed deliberation. This citizens' jury was conducted to learn whether a group of 15 New Zealanders thought the law should be changed to allow some form of EAD and the reasons for their view, having been informed about the issue, heard arguments for and against, and having deliberated together. The jury met for two and a half days. They did not reach a consensus, but become polarized in their positions, with several changing their positions to either strong opposition or strong support. The reasons why people support or oppose EAD were not reducible to particular principles or arguments, but reflected an integrated assessment of a range of considerations, informed by personal priorities and experiences. These results suggest that views on EAD may change in response to informed deliberation that the EAD debate involves a range of value judgments and is not likely to be resolved through deliberation alone. These results may inform international debate on EAD policy.


Preferred citation

Walker, S., Egan, R., Young, J., Jaye, C. & Jackson, C. (2020). A citizens' jury on euthanasia/assisted dying: Does informed deliberation change people's views? Health Expectations, 23(2), 388-395.

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Health Expectations





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