The Constitutional Balance Between Health and Liberty
Merritt, Deborah Jones
Hastings Center Report. 1986 Dec; 16(6): Suppl., 2-10.
Public health measures to control communicable diseases have existed in the United States since the colonial period, and citizen protests against such measures have been variously based on business, property, or civil liberty interests. Civil rights claims did not appear in judicial opinions until 1875, but since 1940 such claims have been given more weight in court decisions. The courts have struggled with society's interests versus those of the individual, frequently deferring decisions to other branches of government. The history of communicable disease control does not point to a single resolution of the AIDS crisis. New regard for individual liberties will be balanced both by the desire to protect the public health and by the same kinds of social fears that led to strict quarantines and eugenic laws during the early part of this century. (KIE abstract)
Aids; Aids Serodiagnosis; Common Good; Communicable Disease Control; Communicable Diseases; Constitutional Law; Costs and Benefits; Civil Rights; Disease; Economics; Equal Protection; Eugenics; Government; Health; Historical Aspects; Human Rights; Immunization; Judicial Action; Law; Legal Rights; Legislation; Laws; Mass Screening; Municipal Government; Public Health; Public Policy; Property; Quarantine; Reproduction; Rights; State Government; Sterilization; Students;
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