An Argument against Legalisation
Whether the law should permit voluntary euthanasia or physicianassisted suicide is one of the most vital questions facing all modern societies.
Internationally, the main obstacle to legalisation has proved to be the objection that, even if they were morally acceptable in certain hard cases, voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide could not be effectively controlled; society would slide down a slippery slope to the killing of patients who did not make a free and informed request, or for whom palliative care would have offered an alternative. How cogent is this objection?
This book provides the general reader (who need have no expertise in philosophy, law or medicine) with a lucid introduction to this central question in the debate, not least by reviewing the Dutch euthanasia experience. It will interest readers in any country, whether for or against legalisation, who wish to ensure that their opinions are better informed.
JOHN KEOWN is Senior Lecturer in the Law and Ethics of Medicine, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge. His previous publications include Abortion, Doctors and the Law (1988) and Euthanasia Examined (1995).