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A number of contributions to this month's issue tackle questions pertinent to the place of and limits to individual liberty in different health domains. These include the new medically assisted dying law in Canada,1 organ donation euthanasia in Belgium and the Netherlands,2 adolescent autonomy and refusals of treatment,3 and public health policy.4 Although spanning diverse areas of enquiry, each of these papers confronts aspects of the ongoing debate about how health-related law and policy ought to take account of competing moral claims and obligations within liberal society. Two of these articles, in particular, highlight the difficulties in balancing the needs and claims of individuals with those of society at large. Central to each are questions regarding the appropriate scope and bounds of individual autonomy and liberty.
The first of these by Schuklenk gives an insight into how this balance is translated into law and policy in one of the most controversial topics of recent times: assisted dying.1 The debate around Canada's new assisted dying legislation has brought to the fore the matter of conscientious objection, as well …