Chapter

Mortal Conflicts of Fundamental Legal Rights—The Fundamental Legal Right to Life v The Fundamental Legal Right to Decisional Privacy

Lorenzo Zucca

in Constitutional Dilemmas

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552184
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191709630 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552184.003.0007
 Mortal Conflicts of Fundamental Legal Rights—The Fundamental Legal Right to Life v The Fundamental Legal Right to Decisional Privacy

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This chapter presents the conflict between the fundamental right to decisional privacy and the fundamental right to life in the context of physician-assisted suicides. This conflict is a vertical one, between the obligation of the state not to intentionally kill and the permission of the individual to decide how to deal with one of the most intimate issues of his existence. Despite the strong pull on the side of the safeguard of life, it is argued that in some egregious cases where the individual can only chose between death with pain and death without pain, the state cannot impose on the individual the greater sacrifice and should let him die as he chooses. The presumption of priority in favour of the protection of life is, in this case, reversed in favour of decisional autonomy.

Keywords: physician-assisted suicide; right to life; intentional killing; decisional privacy; presumption of priority; sacrifices

Chapter.  13758 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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