THE SANCTITY OF LIFE and the Criminal Law by Glanville Williams

THE SANCTITY OF LIFE and the Criminal Law

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In 1954, a liberal theologian- Joseph Fletcher- wrote Medicine and Morals (Princeton University Press) dealing with many of the live-coal issues which Professor Williams discusses here in a book based on a series of lectures given at the Columbia University School of Law. A humanitarian first, Professor Williams is as aware of the social and moral dimensions of the ""sanctity of life"" as the legal structure which protects it, often arbitrarily. So that as he writes of ""monsters and morons, reproduction and repression, eugenics and euthanasia, original sin and the origin of the soul"", he questions and eligious (and inevitably the casuistry of the Catholic Church) attitudes which protect life- and extend it- at the expense of those who must endure it. He also questions the laws, and the ethics behind the laws, of infanticide, suicide, the control of conception and sterilization, artificial insemination and abortion, suicide and euthanasia. And as he trespasses on these hotly debated grounds- he offers a brilliant piece of documentation, interpretation and argument- distinguished by the precision of his logic and the acuity of his wit. Thoughtful readers may provide an audience larger than the professional one to which these essays were originally delivered.

Publisher: Knopf