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Protection of Human Life in Its Early Stage

Intellectual Foundations and Legal Means

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Edited By Alexander Stepkowski

The book consists of thirteen studies examining different aspects of human life protection in the early stage of its development. The contributions are arranged in three parts. Part I focuses on theoretical problems and examines the main issues of contemporary jurisprudence. The foundation of human rights, different approaches to sovereignty, the relation between law and science, the legitimacy of judicial power, and the nature of legal authority are discussed. Part II presents the issues within the national contexts of the USA, Germany, Austria and Poland. In a wider perspective, Part III examines the issue of the protection of human life in the prenatal phase on three different levels: within the EU, within the European Court of Human Rights case law and the UN system.
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Sovereignties: Evaluating Claims for a ‘Right to Abortion’ under International Law

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Piero A. Tozzi*

In the short period I have to present a very complicated topic, I would like to frame the issue on a claimed “right to abortion” in international law as resulting from conflicting questions regarding the question of “sovereignty” – a question that has been intertwined with the modern human rights project of 1948 since its inception.

Recall the context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948 – the horrors of World War II were fresh in the minds of the draftsmen of the Declaration, and the Nuremberg trials had just been completed, where the question of how those who committed the atrocities yet had broken no positive law of the sovereign state of Germany would be judged loomed large. After the prosecution extensively catalogued crimes against humanity committed by the Nazis against civilians and its own citizens, the American Chief Prosecutor of the Nuremberg defendants, Robert Jackson, noted: “Such were the courses of conduct that all defendants admitted had occurred. The only issue of fact left was the degree of personal responsibility of those indicted for having so written German history in blood. The last stand of those implicated was not that the evidence failed to convict of the acts, but that the law had failed to make the acts crimes.”1

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