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Encyclopedia > Right to life

Right to life is a phrase that describes the belief that a human being has an essential right to live, particularly that a human being has the right not to be killed by another human being. The concept of a right to life is central to debates on the issues of capital punishment, euthanasia, self defense and war. Many people who support this concept define embryos and fetuses as human beings which have a right to life, and oppose embryonic stem cell research and abortion. Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ... In jurisprudence and law, a right is the legal or moral entitlement to do or refrain from doing something or to obtain or refrain from obtaining an action, thing or recognition in civil society. ... Look up killing in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Concept (disambiguation). ... Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ... Euthanasia (from Ancient Greek: ευθανασία, good death) is the practice of ending the life of a terminally ill person in a painless or minimally painful way, for the purpose of limiting suffering. ... This article and defense of property deal with the legal concept of excused (sometimes termed justified) acts that might otherwise be illegal. ... The doctrine of the just war has its foundations in ancient Greek society and was first developed in the Christian tradition by Augustine in Civitas Dei, The City of God, in reaction to the absolutist pacifist strain of Christian ethics based on the doctrine of Turn the other cheek espoused... For other uses, see Embryo (disambiguation). ... “Unborn child” redirects here. ... Human embryonic stem cell colony. ...

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Juridical Views

In 1776, the United States Declaration of Independence declared that "life" is one of the unalienable rights, implying that all persons have the right to live and/or exist. The Declaration of Independence continues that a government has the obligation to secure the unalienable rights of its people. When a government no longer respects this fundamental reason for its existence, it is the "right" and "duty" of the people to overthrow it. U.S. Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence is the document in which the Thirteen Colonies declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. ... The term inalienable rights (or unalienable rights) refers to a set of rights that are believed to be absolute, not awarded by any human power and not transferable to another power or capable of being repudiated. ...


In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly declared in article three, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... The United Nations General Assembly (GA) is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations. ... Security of person is a right guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948. ...


In 1950, the European Convention on Human Rights was adopted by the Council of Europe, declaring a protected human right to life in Article 2. There are exceptions for lawful executions and self defence, arresting a fleeing suspect, and suppressing riots and insurrections. Since then Protocol 6 of the Convention has called for nations to outlaw capital punishment except in time of war or national emergency, and at present this pertains in all countries of the Council except Russia. Protocol 13 provides for the total abolition of capital punishment, and has been implemented in most member countries of the Council. The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, also known as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe[1] in 1950 to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. ... Anthem Ode to Joy (orchestral)  ten founding members joined subsequently observer at the Parliamentary Assembly observer at the Committee of Ministers  official candidate Seat Strasbourg, France Membership 47 European states 6 observers (Council) 3 observers (Assembly) Leaders  -  Secretary General  Terry Davis  -  Commissioner for Human Rights   Establishment  -  Treaty of London 5... Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ...


In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), stating that "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth....States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life." The only two non-parties to this Convention are the United States and Somalia. While Madeleine Albright, at the time the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, signed the Convention in 1995, it was not ratified by the Senate. President Bill Clinton chose to submit the Convention to the Senate for ratification by a two-thirds majority; nevertheless, this never happened. In September of 2001, the U.S. presented a document to the U.N. that stated in part: "The Convention on the Rights of the Child may be a positive tool for promoting child welfare for those countries that have adopted it. But we believe the text goes too far when it asserts entitlements based on economic, social and cultural rights. ... The human rights-based approach ... poses significant problems as used in this text." [1] Despite not having been ratified by the United States, the CRC was used in 2005 by the United States Supreme Court to help justify banning the juvenile death penalty, in the case of Roper v. Simmons. Convention on the Rights of the Child Opened for signature 20 November 1989 in - Entered into force September 2, 1990 Conditions for entry into force 20 ratifications or accessions (Article 49) Parties 193 (only 2 non-parties: USA and Somalia) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... Holding The Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid imposition of the death penalty on offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed. ...


Politics

The controversies around right to life consistently energize voters with many being single issue voters. Around abortion issues, it also plays a large role in powerful appointed positions, especially judicial appointments in the United States with the charge from both sides of it being a "litmus test".


Opposing viewpoints

Many utilitarian ethicists argue that the right to life, where it exists, depends on conditions other than membership of the human species. The philosopher Peter Singer is a notable proponent of this argument. For Singer, the right to life is grounded in the ability to plan and anticipate one's future. This extends the concept to animals, such as apes, but since the unborn, infants and severely disabled people lack this, he states that abortion, painless infanticide and euthanasia can be "justified" (but are not obligatory) in certain special circumstances, for instance in the case of severely disabled infants whose life would cause suffering both to themselves and to their parents. Many people with a pro-life viewpoint would strongly disagree with this thesis. Utilitarianism (1861), see Utilitarianism (book). ... Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ... For other persons named Peter Singer, see Peter Singer (disambiguation). ... Families Hylobatidae Hominidae †Proconsulidae †Dryopithecidae †Oreopithecidae Apes are the members of the Hominoidea superfamily of primates, which includes humans. ... Issues of discussion Pro-life is a term representing a variety of perspectives and activist movements in bioethics. ...


Another argument against the "right to life" states that abortion is not a form of murder, hence "pro-choicers" are no less "pro-life" than "pro-lifers." These pro-choicers typically do not advocate Singer's more radical beliefs, including zoophilia, as they find these beliefs distinct from the more common concept of the right of a woman to choose abortion. Some would also state that capital punishment and war are necessary tools to protect society and civilization as a whole, and are thus morally acceptable. This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ...


Test cases

Among recent significant test cases were Terri Schiavo (United States) and a case involving an infant born very prematurely [1][2] in the United Kingdom. These both involved decisions to remove life support from patients which were challenged in the courts. Theresa Marie Terri Schiavo (December 3, 1963 – March 31, 2005), from St. ...


References

  1. ^ Q&A: Charlotte Wyatt case by David Batty, The Guardian, October 21, 2005, accessed June 4, 2007
  2. ^ Ethics review set up after ruling on Wyatt baby by Maxine Frith, The Independent, Oct 9, 2004, accessed June 4, 2007

The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ... The Independent is a British compact newspaper published by Tony OReillys Independent News & Media. ...

See also

The phrase culture of life is a rhetorical term arising from Roman Catholic doctrine, used frequently by Republicans in United States politics. ... Dar al-Islam (Arabic: دار الإسلام literally house of submission) is a term used to refer to those lands under Muslim government(s). ... Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen: Revolutionary patriotism borrows familiar iconography of the Ten Commandments Wikisource has original text related to this article: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (French: La... Issues of discussion Pro-life is a term representing a variety of perspectives and activist movements in bioethics. ... For the 1987 film, see Right to Die (film) The term right to die refers to various issues around the death of an individual when that person could continue to live with the aid of life support, or in a diminished or enfeebled capacity. ... Symbol of Jain philosophy It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Inviolability. ... Theresa Marie Terri Schiavo (December 3, 1963 – March 31, 2005), from St. ...

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