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Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy
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  • Cited by 10
  • 2nd edition
  • John Keown, Georgetown University, Washington DC
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Book description

This book argues against the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia and/or physician-assisted suicide on the ground that, even if they were ethically defensible in certain 'hard cases', neither could be effectively controlled by law. It maintains that the experience of legalisation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Oregon lends support to the two 'slippery slope' arguments against legalisation, the 'empirical' and the 'logical'. The empirical argument challenges the feasibility of drafting and enforcing adequate safeguards against abuse and mistake; the logical argument shows that acceptance of the case for euthanasia in the case of suffering patients who request it logically involves acceptance of euthanasia for suffering patients who are unable to request it, such as infants and those with advanced dementia.


'… magisterial …'

Lord Judge - former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

'A masterly analysis of the results of legalisation. Future discussions can, and must, be evidence-based.'

Baroness Onora O’Neill - Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, and former Principal of Newnham College, University of Cambridge

'Though it hardly seems possible, this updating of the classic text on the quintessential issue in modern medicine has made its analysis of the ethical and legal issues in euthanasia even more trenchant and illuminating.'

Alexander M. Capron - Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics, University of Southern California, and former Director of Ethics and Health Law at the World Health Organization

'John Keown is undoubtedly one of the all-time leading writers on assisted suicide and euthanasia. He writes with great power and clarity.'

Yale Kamisar - Clarence Darrow Distinguished University Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Michigan

'Euthanasia, Ethics and Public Policy is a meticulous, highly readable, and profoundly disturbing examination of the merits of the slippery slope arguments. … John Keown's book is essential reading for everyone interested in the AD [Assisted Dying] debate (which should be all of us) - regardless of personal conviction.'

Charles Foster Source: New Law Journal

'This is the latest addition to John Keown’s library of excellent books to do with euthanasia … and … the best. This book is the best collection of information regarding euthanasia that I have seen and it is strongly recommended if you have any interest in the euthanasia and assisted-dying debate.'

Roger Woodruff Source: International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care Newsletter

‘The author offers a deep analysis of complicated ethical issues, and yet his writing remains comprehensible and engaging, making for an accessible and stimulating read. In sum, this volume presents a welcome reference contribution to one of the most important ethical debates of our age. Despite having a well-defined position, Keown succeeds in advocating for his perspective while presenting a complete overview of the main ethical, legal, and empirical arguments used against legalising euthanasia.’

Carlos Gómez‑Vírseda Source: Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics

‘The second edition … is an indispensable work that should inform the debate about legalization in the years to come … The work is marked by a sophisticated analysis of the legal issues and by an acute understanding of the actual practice of assisted suicide and euthanasia.’

Richard S. Myers Source: Ave Maria Law Review

Praise for the first edition:'… the best book in print on the case against the legalisation of euthanasia.'

Source: The Tablet

Praise for the first edition:'… a most significant contribution to the debate …'

Source: Medical Law Review

Praise for the first edition:'Keown's clarity of thought explodes myths and beats an accessible path through a detailed jungle of morality and social history.'

Source: British Medical Journal

‘This second edition is a long-awaited masterpiece, following 16 years after the publication of the first edition. The discussion on end-of-life care in various countries written in this new edition will be great reference to onward discussions in Japan … This new edition, too, describes the judicial precedents, commentaries, and legislative process of each country in a careful manner. I would highly recommend reading Professor Keown’s new edition to anyone including non-legal personnel.’

Miki Hirano Source: Journal of Medical Law

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