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The Criminal Justice System and Health Care$
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Charles A. Erin and Suzanne Ost

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228294.001.0001

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Terminating Life and Human Rights: The Fetus and the Neonate

Terminating Life and Human Rights: The Fetus and the Neonate

Chapter:
(p.189) 11 Terminating Life and Human Rights: The Fetus and the Neonate
Source:
The Criminal Justice System and Health Care
Author(s):

Elizabeth Wicks

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228294.003.0011

This chapter analyses whether the significance of birth can justify the fact that the criminal law treats the termination of fetal life and the killing of a neonate differently, and proceeds to critically evaluate whether the law's differential treatment of the fetus and the neonate rests easily with human rights concerns. It is argued that the criminal law's intervention in these two contexts does in fact reflect the status ascribed to fetal and neonatal life, and the way in which the right to life is applied to the fetus and to the neonate in human rights law. It is shown that the idea of a fetal right to life, but one which is subject to the mother's rights until birth, ties in well with the idea of the mother as the most appropriate protector of her child's rights. Once the fetus is born alive, the question of a mother's conflicting rights no longer arises.

Keywords:   abortion, neonaticide, severe disability, human rights, the right to life

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