Global Rights and the Sanctity of Life

The Globalization of Health Care, Glenn Cohen, ed., Oxford University Press, 2013

Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 7/2013

38 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2013  

Pavlos Eleftheriadis

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 4, 2013

Abstract

This essay, to be published in a collection of essays edited by Glenn Cohen, argues that basic moral rights to health care exist in two cases. First, they exist when persons have a moral duty to respect the sanctity of life, by avoiding injury or risk to others, or to give aid to those in need. This also creates a right to be rescued by those to whom we are in some special relationship or in special proximity. There is also, second, a basic political right to health care against one’s own government, whenever such a government exercises jurisdiction over persons and territory. The content of the right is the setting up of an effective health system – parallel, perhaps to a general system of civil and criminal justice – enabling individuals to enjoy the fruits of common life without fear of violence or exploitation. The source of this right includes a principle of equal citizenship which ought to be a constitutional pre-condition of political legitimacy. Other rights and duties of the human rights canon are simply legislated rights or established policies. I conclude that it is a mistake to see the international human right to health as a single moral principle. Behind the slogan there are several other principles at work.

Suggested Citation

Eleftheriadis, Pavlos, Global Rights and the Sanctity of Life (February 4, 2013). The Globalization of Health Care, Glenn Cohen, ed., Oxford University Press, 2013; Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 7/2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2211468

Pavlos Eleftheriadis (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

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