Public Health - ethical issues

image of Public Health - ethical issues

The Nordic Committee on Bioethics organised a conference in Reykjavik in August 2010 to discuss ethical issues relating to public health. The speakers of the conference have contributed to this book, which offers wide multidisciplinary perspectives on themes around Individual Freedom and Public Health, Health Responsibility and Life Style, and Social Equality and Justice.



Individual liberty in public health – no trumping value

Public health policy often limits people’s liberty for their own good. The very point of many types of public health measures is to restrict people’s options in order to stop them from doing unhealthy things, for example use harmful recreational drugs or drive without a seatbelt. While such restrictive public health policies enjoy widespread support, so does the traditional liberal idea that liberty (or autonomy) is a higher value, to be given priority in most, if not all, circumstances. In this text, I will defend the thesis that liberty is an important value, but with no claim to priority.


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