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Valuing All Lives – Even “Wrongful” Ones

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Chapter Summary

Using a human rights approach - one that focuses on the dignity of the person, equality between people, and inclusion of all people in society - this chapter attempts to deconstruct &t;wrongful life&t; and &t;wrongful birth&t; actions in order to determine whether these actions are consistent or inconsistent with human rights principles. It is possible to divide wrongful life and wrongful birth cases into two classes: wrongful conception or wrongful pregnancy cases and wrongful birth cases. The second group of cases of wanted pregnancy, unwanted child, specifically deals with selective abortion. A major reason for prenatal testing is to allow women to abort a foetus should it have "undesirable" characteristics. The crucial issue, from a human rights perspective, is that whatever strategy is adopted with respect to people with disabilities is respectful of them. Wrongful life and wrongful birth suits have been contentious in this regard.

Keywords: abortion; disabilities; human rights; modern birth technology; unwanted child; wanted pregnancy

10.1163/ej.9789004189508.i-552.32
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