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The Supreme Court has ruled that states may prohibit physician-assisted suicide. Expressing the views of his fellow justices, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote, "Americans are engaged in an earnest and profound debate about the morality, legality, and practicality of physician-assisted suicide. Our holding permits this debate to continue." Regulating How We Die is certain to be a landmark contribution to that debate. Dr. Linda Emanuel--one of America's most influential medical ethicists--has assembled leading experts to provide not only a clear account of the arguments for and against physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia but also historical, empirical, and legal perspectives on this complicated issue. These contributors include Marcia Angell, George Annas, Susan Wolf, and many others.
The important questions are addressed here, including: What does mercy dictate? Does physician-assisted suicide honor or violate autonomy? Is it more dignified than natural death? Is this decision purely a private matter? Will legalizing physician-assisted suicide put us on a slippery slope toward involuntary euthanasia? And, in an analysis of data not available in any other book, what can we learn from Holland, the only country in which physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal?
Regulating How We Die will be essential reading for anyone who has been handed a terminal diagnosis, for people close to those facing such a diagnosis, for professionals, including physicians, nurses, pastors, lawyers, legislators--indeed, for anyone who has considered the moral and political debate over doctor-assisted suicide.
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Linda L. Emanuel is Vice President for Ethics Standards of the American Medical Association.Review:
The opinions for and against euthanasia in Regulating How We Die do more than rehearse the arguments over the merciful treatment of extreme suffering (pain is the prime motivation in only 3 per cent of requests for assisted dying). Editor Linda Emanuel raises major questions of personal freedom and social care in a diverse collection sure to trigger heated arguments. (New Scientist [UK])
Regulating How We Die 'aims to clarify and balance the arguments concerning physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia and to direct attention to the root issues that motivate calls for their use in our time.' The list of the 10 contributors is a Who's Who for bioethics and health law, and they cover the breadth of ethical, moral, and legal issues that surround physician assisted suicide and euthanasia. Of special interest are chapters on 'Facing assisted suicide and euthanasia in children and adolescents' and 'Religious viewpoints.' Although the legislative focus is on the Netherlands and United States, other countries, like Britain, are fully considered...Regulating How We Die is a valuable source of balanced information...Written with grace and clarity, the book comprehensively explores the arguments for and against--cross cultural, religious, moral, and ethical aspects are considered. It will 'help to guide those who must make very difficult decisions, whether at a level of public policy, in the personal practice, or among their own family members.' As a reference and resource, it will be valuable and relevant for a long time to come.
--Ariel Rosita King (British Medical Journal)
[Regulating How We Die] would be of value to anyone, lay person or professional, who is interested in a thorough analysis of the subject...[It] is well written and generally provides a solid background on the complex subject of physician-assisted suicide and whether it should be legalized in the United States at this time.
--Terri A. Schmidt (American Journal of Human Biology)
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