Ethical Perspectives Monograph Series

Schotsmans P., Meulenbergs T. - Ethical Perspectives Monograph Series - 2005 - 264 p. *

Belgium and the Netherlands - the Low Countries - are the first countries in the world to have legalized euthanasia. Physicians who terminate life at the patient’s request no longer have to fear criminal prosecution. However, end-of-life legislation in the Low Countries has provoked diverse responses and sparked vigorous and divisive ethical debate.

For some, the new legislation has become a shining example ; for others it is a lamentable materialization of a culture of death. "Euthanasia and Palliative Care in the Low Countries" provides an overview and comparison of the legal specifics of the Belgian and Dutch Euthanasia Acts, a discussion of palliative care initiatives and an ethical examination of the new legislation. In addition, the book provides an in-depth analysis of the arguments used in the end-of-life debate and a critical examination of the positions taken by the churches. The book concludes with an overview of how Christian health-care institutions accommodate to this new legal situation.