Limiting Treatment    

Grisez first dealt with the jurisprudence and morality of limiting treatment in the book he coauthored with Joseph M. Boyle, Jr.: Life and Death with Liberty and Justice: A Contribution to the Euthanasia Debate. Research on that book was completed in August 1978. When Grisez wrote the first of the items listed below about seven years later, his thinking on the matter had developed in many respects.

Grisez provides a compact summary of his mature view of people’s moral responsibilities with respect to obtaining and limiting health care in chapter eight, question F of Living a Christian Life, beginning here. Moreover, in Difficult Moral Questions, questions 44–47 are relevant and begin here.


“A Christian Ethics of Limiting Medical Treatment    
Guidance for Patients, Proxy Decision Makers, and Counselors”

Grisez was invited by Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut to lecture on this subject on 16 October 1985. In preparing the lecture, he drew on what Boyle and he had proposed in their 1978 book, his own subsequent work in Christian Moral Principles, and the works of several other scholars listed in the selected bibliography. As a systematic consideration of limiting treatment, this lecture is not surpassed by any of Grisez’s later works, although he recognized an important mistake in it that he subsequently corrected.

The lecture is copyright © 1986 Marie E. Lescoe; all rights reserved.

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“Feeding and Hydrating the Permanently Unconscious and    
Other Vulnerable Persons”

William E. May led the group that drafted this important statement. In working with him and the others who participated in drafting it, Grisez realized that his earlier view on the central issue it treats had been mistaken.

The statement is copyright © 1987 by the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent and Disabled, Inc.; all rights reserved.

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“Should Nutrition and Hydration Be Provided to    
Permanently Unconscious and Other Mentally Disabled Persons?”

Having become convinced of the moral truth of the position articulated in the preceding statement, Grisez wrote this article to provide the ethical reasoning that led him to abandon the position he had previously taken.

The article is copyright © 1989 by the National Legal Center for the Medically Dependent and Disabled, Inc.; all rights reserved.

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