Lawrence O. Gostin’s timely book offers the first systematic definition and theory of public health law. Basing his definition on a broad notion of the government’s inherent responsibility to advance the population’s health and well-being, Gostin develops a rich understanding of the government’s fundamental powers and duties. By analyzing constitutional powers and limits, as well as statutory, administrative, and tort law, Public Health Law vividly shows how law can become a potent tool for the realization of a healthier and safer population.
Gostin demonstrates that while regulation achieves powerful public goods, it often does so at the expense of private rights. Consequently, in thinking about public health regulation, he takes a hard look at the tradeoffs–between the common welfare on the one hand and the personal burdens and economic interests of individuals and businesses on the other.
Public health law creates an intellectual framework for the field of public health–as distinct from related fields that center on personal health care delivery and regulation–and supports that framework with rich material illustrating the intellectual, scientific, political, and ethical issues involved. It provides the basis for cross-disciplinary exchange between law and the various allied public health disciplines and complements texts in the fields of AIDS, human rights, health care, and health law. In proposing innovative solutions for the future of public health, Gostin’s essential study provides a blueprint for future public and political debates on the questions encompassed by this vital and burgeoning field engenders.
Lawrence O. Gostin, University of California Press and Milbank Memorial Fund, 2002
From the University of California Press:
This incisive selection of government reports, scholarly articles, and court cases is designed to illuminate the ethical, legal, and political issues in the theory and practice of public health. A companion to the internationally acclaimed Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint, this collection encourages debate and discourse about how courts, scholars, and policy makers respond to the salient legal and ethical dilemmas. The excerpts and commentaries in the reader analyze the legal and constitutional foundations of public health, juxtaposing them with the emerging importance of public health ethics and human rights. The book offers a systematic account of public health law, ethics, and human rights in promoting the common good.
Gostin provides thoughtful commentary on the field of public health and carefully explains the meaning and importance of each selection. Scholars, legislators, and public health professionals, as well as faculty and students in schools of law, public health, medicine, nursing, government, and health administration, will benefit from the contemporary case studies covering a wide range of topics from bioterrorism to public health genetics.
Stanley S. Herr, Lawrence O. Gostin, Harold Hongju Koh, eds., Oxford University Press, 2003
From the Oxford University Press:
This volume brings together two important contemporary social movements: human rights and disability rights. It analyses the global struggle to realize equality, dignity, and comprehensive human and civil rights for persons with intellectual disabilities. In twenty original chapters, distinguished contributors from a range of disciplines address the latest international developments in the field. These include international human rights standards and other sources of legal protection, nondiscrimination laws and the economics of equality, preventative technology, remediation and habilitation, and lifestyle choices and autonomy.
The volume is unique in specifically considering the human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities from an international perspective. It identifies recent international advances in their human rights and public policy positions, in addition to making recommendations for further advances at both the national and international levels.
Although human rights are universal and persons with intellectual disabilities are entitled to protection under general human rights law, the authors argue that there are differences that must be taken into account in order that the intellectually disabled can enjoy even the most basic of rights. This volume explores the implications of altering the status quo, and offers policy-makers and professionals ways to learn from each other’s innovations in protecting rights, implementing quality assurance measures, and applying the concepts of inclusion and the ‘least restrictive environment’.
In this collection of essays, Lawrence O. Gostin, confronts the most pressing and controversial issues surrounding AIDS in America and around the world. He shows how HIV/AIDS affects the entire population–infected and uninfected–by influencing our social norms, our economy, and our country’s role as a world leader. Now in the third decade of this pandemic, the nation and the world still fail to respond to the needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS and continue to tolerate injustice in their treatment, Gostin argues. AIDS, both in the United States and globally, deeply affects poor and marginalized populations, and many US policies are based on conservative moral values rather than public health and social justice concerns. Gostin tackles the hard social, legal, political, and ethical issues of the HIV/AIDS pandemic: privacy and discrimination, travel and immigration, clinical trials and drug pricing, exclusion of HIV-infected health care workers, testing and treatment of pregnant women and infants, and needle-exchange programs. This book provides an inside account of AIDS policy debates together with incisive commentary. It is indispensable reading for advocates, scholars, health professionals, lawyers, and the concerned public.