The Right to Life and Conflicting Rights of Others
This chapter seeks to identify the limited circumstances in which an innocent human life may be terminated in order to protect the rights of others. It investigates conflicts such as that between conjoined twins, between a pregnant woman and a viable fetus, and in the context of a hijacked plane being used as a weapon It is argued that one life may be taken to save another if there will be a net gain in human life, provided that a) the intervening action only diverts an existing threat, rather than introducing a new threat to an individual’s life, and b) the intervening action does not entail an infringement of an individual’s rights and thus treat him or her as a means to an end. It is also argued that a viable fetus’ right to life does not obligate the fetus’ mother to permit it to continue to use her body in order to preserve its life.
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