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On the Road to Permissiveness?Change and Convergence of Moral Regulation in Europe$
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Christoph Knill, Christian Adam, and Steffen Hurka

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198743989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198743989.001.0001

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different moves towards punitive permissiveness

(p.79) 6 Euthanasia
On the Road to Permissiveness?

Caroline Preidel

Christoph Knill

Oxford University Press

The chapter shows that European countries developed highly different regulations of euthanasia ranging from its prohibition to the permission of passive euthanasia, assisted suicide, or even active euthanasia. While some countries have relied on strategies of absorption and maintained the status quo, others have moved towards a style of punitive permissiveness where laxer rules have been compensated by stricter sanctions. Finally, few countries combined more liberal rules with reduced sanctions, hence moving towards a purely permissive regulatory style. From a theoretical perspective, we should have expected compensatory moves—an approach that is indeed strongly pronounced in our sample. The only country that does not easily fit into these explanations is Germany, which moved towards permissiveness. The fact that we find transmission rather than compensation or absorption is basically an unintended consequence of legal and political complexities: the limited decision-making capacities and high legal complexity of the regulatory matter.

Keywords:   euthanasia policy change, passive euthanasia, assisted suicide, active euthanasia, Germany

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