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Revisiting Moral Panics$
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Viviene E Cree, Viviene E. Cree, Gary Clapton, and Mark Smith

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447321859

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447321859.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

Assisted dying

Assisted dying

moral panic or moral issue?

(p.243) Twenty Assisted dying
Revisiting Moral Panics

Malcolm Payne

Policy Press

Assisted dying has become a controversial public issue, with high profile debate engaging health and social care experts, pressure groups and public commentary. For many people it is also a profoundly moral issue: what are the circumstances in which it is acceptable to help a person with a serious, hard-to-bear illness to die? Currently in most jurisdictions to do so is unlawful. A series of high-profile cases have led to anguished public debate about this issue, engaging pressure groups, medical and care professions and, in particular, the Christian churches. Some states have legislated to specify conditions in which assisted dying might be permitted; others have, for various reasons, have rejected this option; in the UK, the Director of Public Prosecutions has given official guidance. Can we understand this debate as a moral panic, or is it better understood as appropriate public debate about a genuine moral quandary?

Keywords:   assisted dying, moral issue, moral quandary

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