Ethics. Research. Community.

Euthanasia: an introduction.

The Journal of social issues. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
It has been argued that euthanasia is one of the most pressing social concerns of our times. A review of current scientific and legal materials, however, indicates that this issue is a complex and contentious one that crosses numerous perspectives and theoretical orientations. In order to provide background for the other articles in this collection, we present a brief history of attitudes toward euthanasia. In addition, various terms that are associated with the concept of euthanasia are defined. Finally, this paper provides a framework for the articles that follow by suggesting that three central issues must be addressed in order to resolve the controversies surrounding euthanasia. These are (1) the establishment of standardized criteria of euthanasia eligibility, (2) the investigation of public attitudes regarding acceptable means for engaging in euthanasia, and (3) the evaluation of the roles of professionals who are directly involved in euthanasia decisions. We hope that the following articles will provide insight into these issues.
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