Policy ForumPUBLIC HEALTH

Public Health vs. Civil Liberties

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Science  13 Sep 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5588, pp. 1811
DOI: 10.1126/science.1074274

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Summary

Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September, a Model State Emergency Health Powers Act was drafted to help legislatures update t heir legal infrastructure to deal with potential bioterrorist acts. A fierce debate ensued over provisions in the act that would lim it privacy, civil liberties and property rights. This debate, involving groups of varying p olitical and ideological viewpoints, thr ew into relief the enduring tension between the responsibility of the state to guard the public health and the need to protect indiv idual rights and freedoms.

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