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Assisted Dying and Legal Change$
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Penney Lewis

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212873

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212873.001.0001

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Rights to Assisted Dying

Rights to Assisted Dying

(p.12) 2 Rights to Assisted Dying
Assisted Dying and Legal Change

Penney Lewis

Oxford University Press

There have been unsuccessful attempts to use constitutionally entrenched rights claims to challenge criminal prohibitions on assisted suicide in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. These challenges, brought by patients, reached the highest courts in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Their failure makes unlikely — in any major common law or European jurisdiction — the legalization of assisted suicide or euthanasia using challenges based on constitutionally entrenched rights. To determine what we can learn about the use of rights as a mechanism for legal change on assisted dying from the debate which surrounded these cases requires an examination of the use of rights in litigation and debate over the legalization of assisted suicide, including the rights to liberty, autonomy, privacy, dignity, equality, freedom of conscience and religion, life, and property.

Keywords:   constitutionally entrenched rights, assisted suicide, right to liberty, right to autonomy, right to privacy, right to dignity, right to equality, freedom of conscience and religion, right to life, right to property

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