The Right to Life and Conflicting Rights of Others

Elizabeth Wicks

in The Right to Life and Conflicting Interests

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780199547395
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594373 | DOI:
The Right to Life and Conflicting Rights of Others

Show Summary Details


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.

Keywords: conjoined twins; hijacked planes; abortion; conflicting rights

Chapter.  14226 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.