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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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German Constitutional Law and the Protection of Human Life in the Prenatal Phase

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Christian Hillgruber*

I. Introduction

Contemporary biomedicine is both a blessing and a curse for humankind. Never before in history have doctors been able to keep so many patients alive for so long: premature babies whose lives are saved only by state-of-the-art medical equipment; patients suffering from diseases for long considered incurable but nowadays treatable; senior citizens whose life can now be substantially extended and its quality very much improved, even in extreme old age.

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