70% of Koreans Approve of Passive Euthanasia

      January 20, 2012 11:18

      Seven in 10 Koreans believe that meaningless life-prolonging treatment of patients should be stopped and surrogate pregnancy should be banned by law, according to a survey.

      In the poll of 1,000 people released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Thursday, 72.3 percent of respondents approved of terminating life-prolonging treatment, or passive euthanasia.

      Asked to give reasons -- multiple answers were allowed -- 69.4 percent cited the pain of patients' families. Next came painful treatment (65.8 percent), the cost (60.2 percent), and patients' wishes (45.2 percent). Among those who were against any form of euthanasia, the biggest reason was the sanctity of life.

      As for surrogate pregnancy, 77.3 percent of respondents felt there are ethical problems. Sixty-eight percent called for a ban on the practice because it can lead to controversy over parenthood and a commercialization of human life.

      A mere 29.2 percent said they want to donate their organs, far fewer than the 56 percent in the EU or 73 percent in Canada. No more than 36.5 percent said they are ready to donate their organs even if they are brain-dead. Even fewer people, or 14.3 percent, expressed their willingness to donate hematopoietic stem cells.

      Respondents did not on the whole believe in making active preparations for death. The largest proportion, or 36.8 percent, said while death is unavoidable, they would not take the trouble to prepare for it. Some 34.4 percent said they had never thought of their own death. Only 24.8 percent said they should calmly prepare for their death.

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