In Taiwan, is euthanasia illegal?
I was shocked to read this story in the Taipei Times today, which implies that in Taiwan, it is illegal to let someone in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) die naturally (by removing a feeding tube or turning off a machine). It implies that in Taiwan, the law is that life must be prolonged artificially! Here is the article:
The thing that especially shocked me was this sentence:
But this quote is not from a government official. It’s from the Creation Social Welfare Foundation, which is an organization that sets up hospices all over Taiwan for the purpose of taking care of PVS patients. And of course, it is in their interest to persuade people to not let PVS patients die because if everyone decided to pull out all the feeding tubes of all the PVS patients, then the Creation Social Welfare Foundation would go bankrupt.
So after reading the article, now I’m confused about whether or not euthanasia is legal in Taiwan.
By the way, the article also says this:
This is completel rubbish! It’s extremely rare for any PVS patient to “wake up” because brain cells almost never regenerate. Once brain cells die, they are gone forever.
This reminds me of a movie with Robin Williams called “Awakenings” (1990), in which people who seemed to be in a PVS suddenly “woke up” when given certain medicine. That movie did incredible damage to the euthanasia movement in the U.S. because it falsely implied that PVS patients might one day “wake up”, and the movie said “Based on a true story”. But in actuality, the movie was based on a story of patients who were in a “catatonic state”, so they were actually not brain damaged at all. They were actually just paralyzed, so they couldn’t move any muscle in their bodies, but they were still completely “cognitively aware” (able to think). This is completely different from PVS patients such as Terri Schiavo.
Anyway, back to my original question: Is euthanasia legal or illegal in Taiwan?