Karen Warren on facing death and considering options

Eco-feminist philosopher Karen Warren has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In a moving piece in Psychology Today, she writes,

This was the start of my personal journey confronting death. As a philosophy professor for nearly 40 years with an expertise in ethics, I often lectured about euthanasia. So, I am quite aware of arguments for and against various end-of-life options. But I never anticipated that my academic expertise would turn into a lived experience: Every day I watch myself deteriorate from a fatal and excruciatingly painful disease. And every day I do so knowing that I cannot legally choose to end my life before I become immobile. Because in my home state—Minnesota—it is illegal to help someone die.

The crux of the debate about aid-in-dying options centers around medical ethics. Physicians take an oath to help their patients and “do no harm.” Many interpret this oath as requiring that patients be kept alive at all costs. The goal of the medical community is to make us live as long as we possibly can—even when our body would long be gone without medical equipment and our quality of life is next-to-nothing.

See more here.

3 thoughts on “Karen Warren on facing death and considering options

  1. What devastating news. What an excellent column about her devastating news. I’m so sorry to learn of her diagnosis and so gratified to read her words.

  2. I am reminded of the contributions Karen has made to Philosophy, And I am reminded that about 80% of gun deaths in the US are suicides. The NRA is America’s greatest supporter of suicide.
    Many of her neighbors in Minnesota have guns that help them evade legal obstacles. They just shoot themselves. About 85 % of attempted gun suicides succeed. The NRA should issue guidelines to help gun owners succeed rather than fail. Failed gun suicide must be ugly.
    My salute to Karen Warren.

  3. My post was not to suggest that Karen should buy a gun and shoot herself but to focus on the silly and ugly of culture and gender concerning end of life. In the ’90s my sister spent 9 years in a coma after smoke inhalation in Texas. She never wanted that. I read of a man in Cincinnati who went into a hospital and shot his wife in a coma, and was acquitted. And a man in Florida who was not.
    I wish to suggest that end of life is a Feminist issue.

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