Practical reasons and reasonable practice: The case of euthanasia in the Netherlands
Journal/Book: J Soc Issues. 1996; 52: 233 Spring St, New York, NY 10013. Plenum Publ Corp. 149-168.
Abstract: Since the early 1970s the issue of euthanasia has been intensely debated in The Netherlands, Through these debates knowledge about medical practices involving the end of life was no longer confined to medical or legal quarters, but became public to a large extent. Following public opinion changes, the legal reaction to euthanasia changed. By prosecuting test cases the public prosecutors allowed the Dutch Supreme Court to formulate specific conditions in which euthanasia would go unpunished, The political debate about changing the criminal law which still holds that euthanasia is a serious crime, developed at a much slower pace. Several extensive empirical studies were undertaken to gain valid knowledge about the medical practices, This article is concerned with a presentation of the various debates and the changes that took place in the fields of criminal law politics, and medicine, The main conclusion is the hypothesis that a more open climate for medical practices concerning the end of life allows society to better control these practices.
Note: Article VS-Card DJ Hessing, Erasmus Univ Rotterdam, Fac Law, POB 1738, NL-3000 Dr Rotterdam, Netherlands