Letting Go: Death, Dying, and the Law

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How we define our right to die is the result of a complex negotiation between personal autonomy and public control, founded on many of the same concepts that underpin Roe v. Wade. From beginning to end, the lives of all Americans are in the hands of the courts, and historian Melvin I. Urofsky informs us about what we can expect from those courts and how we can ensure for ourselves the right to make the most fundamental decisions about the quality of our lives. Urofsky maps out the legal debate surrounding the ...
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Overview

How we define our right to die is the result of a complex negotiation between personal autonomy and public control, founded on many of the same concepts that underpin Roe v. Wade. From beginning to end, the lives of all Americans are in the hands of the courts, and historian Melvin I. Urofsky informs us about what we can expect from those courts and how we can ensure for ourselves the right to make the most fundamental decisions about the quality of our lives. Urofsky maps out the legal debate surrounding the "right to die" in an authoritative discussion of the compelling issues of personal autonomy, privacy, and the First Amendment. Drawing upon precedents from celebrated court cases such as Nancy Cruzan and Karen Ann Quinlan, Urofsky then clarifies the ethical ambiguities in personal terms with which everyone can identify. He confronts the problems posed by living wills, the withdrawal of life support systems, and the pros and cons of a rational person's choosing the option of suicide. As modern medicine prolongs life beyond all previous limits, how we die is perhaps the greatest moral and legal dilemma we face. Letting Go is for anybody concerned with how America conceives the rights of the individual in the late twentieth century, as well as those facing painful, personal decisions of life and death.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780806126357
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1994
  • Edition description: REVISED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Prelude: Two Scenes from a Hospital 1
1 Karen Ann: The Debate Begins 11
2 Is there a "Right" to Die? 31
3 Suicide 55
4 On Death Row 76
5 Baby Doe 97
6 Mercy Killings 118
7 Advance Directives 130
8 Who Decides? 151
Coda: Theresa Ann 175
Notes 179
Index 197
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