, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 195-214

Death with Dignity: Fifty Years of Soul-Searching

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Abstract

The thesis of this paper is that there has been a gradual liberalization of thinking in the U.S. since the 1950's about what is morally allowable in how individuals control their own dying. The degree of liberalization will be plotted based on changes in public and professional opinion, landmark court cases, publication of books about dying, key players in the public eye, and the emergence of more organizations promoting death with dignity. More recent developments show a growing interest in finding better ways to respond to the needs of the dying. A final section speculates on the future of death with dignity.