Natural law and the "right to die"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Over the last two decades social concerns with the "right to die" have grown beyond the ability of our governmental and judicial institutions to consistently deal with them. One reason for this difficulty has been the unavailability of any legal or judicial standard that is consistent with American conceptions of liberty, morality, and justice. This article attempts to examine the theory of natural law to determine whether it may provide a consistent standard for resolving these difficult questions. As natural law theories are traced through history, they lead directly to the United States where a uniquely American interpretation became one of the foundational principles for our constitution. By applying these theories to the contemporary question of the "right to die," natural law can again provide the foundational principles needed to develop standards for dealing with such questions that are consistent with our historical, philosophical, and political traditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-26
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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