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Debating Euthanasia

In this new addition to the 'Debating Law' series, Emily Jackson and John Keown re-examine the legal and ethical aspects of the euthanasia debate. Emily Jackson argues that we owe it to everyone in society to do all that we can to ensure that they experience a 'good death'. For a small minority of patients who experience intolerable and unrelievable suffering, this may mean helping them to have an assisted death. In a liberal society, where people's moral views differ, we should not force individuals to experience deaths they find intolerable. This is not an argument in favour of dying. On the contrary, Jackson argues that legalisation could extend and enhance the lives of people whose present fear of the dying process causes them overwhelming distress. John Keown argues that voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are gravely unethical and he defends their continued prohibition by law. He analyses the main arguments for relaxation of the law - including those which invoke the experience of jurisdictions which permit these practices - and finds them wanting. Relaxing the law would, he concludes, be both wrong in principle and dangerous in practice, not least for the dying, the disabled and the disadvantaged.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface Acknowledgements - John Keown and Emily Jackson In Favour of the Legalisation of Assisted Dying by Emily Jackson I. Introduction II. Why We Should Try III. The Status Quo is Indefensible A. Double Effect B. Terminal Sedation C. 'Do Not Attempt Resuscitation' Orders D. Treatment Withdrawal E. Exporting the 'Problem' of Assisted Suicide F. The Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide 'Underground' and the Benefits of Regulation IV. Why Might Anyone Think We Shouldn't Try? A. The Sanctity and Value of Life B. Effect on Doctor-Patient Relationship C. Regulatory Difficulties V. What Might an Assisted Dying Law Look Like? A. Other Countries' Experience B. Process C. Method: Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia, or Both? D. Substance VI. What are the Consequences of not Trying? Against Decriminalising Euthanasia; For Improving Care by John Keown I. Introduction II. Definitions III. Ten Arguments For Decriminalisation A. Autonomy B. Compassion C. Legal Hypocrisy D. A Right to Suicide E. Public Opinion F. Legal Failure G. The Netherlands H. Oregon I. Religion J. Economics IV. Professor Jackson's Arguments A. Jackson 1 B. Jackson 2 V. The Joffe Bill A. The Bill B. Key Committee Recommendations Not Adopted C. Extension and Abuse VI. Conclusions

About the Author

Emily Jackson is a Professor of Law at the London School of Economics. She is also a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, and the British Medical Association Medical Ethics Committee. John Keown holds the Rose F. Kennedy Chair in Christian Ethics in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University. Formerly, he taught the law and ethics of medicine in the Faculty of Law at Cambridge, where was a Fellow of Queens' College and of Churchill College


Both Jackson and Keown are recognized experts in the field, and their positions are well known: thus the book contains (with merit) a wide variety of arguments and perspectives. And, although each author's presentation is different in his or her own way, the way in which each of them confront identical problems is one of the greatest values of the book. -- Ricardo Chueca * Law and Politics Book Review, Volume 23(2) * This highly accessible book reveals and critiques the flawed logic of the utilitarian mind with its view that human life has but instrumental value to be discarded when no longer of use, justifiable on the grounds that autonomy is to be respected even more than life. With echoes of the tactics used to force the decriminalisation of abortion, this book is a must read for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the hotly disputed issue of assisted dying. -- unknown * LIFE Magazine * Both Jackson and Keown have put forward accessible and well-argued cases for their respective views. -- Alex Carlile * The Tablet * A concise and excellent summary of the current state of play in the debate about assisted dying. -- Roger Woodruff * International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care e-Newsletter * Both Jackson's and Keown's contributions are clearly presented and succinct, and provide learned representations of the polarised perspectives taken in the euthanasia debate. ... as a supplementary text, one which is used in conjunction with others to flesh out an area of study, it is invaluable. -- Jennifer Edwards * Medical Law Review, Volume 21 *

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