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Prawo do życia

Marek Wichrowski

The Right to Life

The aim of the article is to present the issues related to human life protection. First, the author discusses the legal matters related to the European Declaration of Human Rights in the context of value of life. Then, principles of sanctity of life of an innocent human according to the Catholic ethics (from Saint Agustin through Pius XII to John Paul II) are investigated. The Christian attitude is dominant in the continental and broader Anglo-Saxon medical law systems. Utilitarianism with Dutch law as the juridical representative brings the opposing solution. From the point of view of these two fundamental systems, the author presents contemporary thanatology and its notions: the definition of brain stem death, euthanasia, abortion, medical futility, suicide, death penalty, palliative care. Reference to the EU law allows to understand why in case of contentious issues, the member states are free (with the exception of capital punishment) to choose solutions. Thus, certain medical law systems (e.g. Polish solutions) are determined by the principle of the sanctity of life of an innocent human (prima facie), while others (e.g. Holland) to a greater extent follow the utilitarian models. In any case, however, human life is precisely protected under the Declaration of Human Rights.