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Protection of Human Life in Its Early Stage

Intellectual Foundations and Legal Means


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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Polish Penal Law on the Human Being in the Prenatal Stage


Małgorzata Gałązka*

I. The discussion on the protection of prenatal life under penal law should begin by referring to its position in the constitution. The constitutional standard of life protection legitimizes the relevant penal law regulations prohibiting the violation of this value.

The Polish constitution fails to address the prenatal phase of human life directly. However, it is rightly thought that the standard of protection of prenatal life can be inferred from the general constitutional provisions on human rights, among them, Article 30 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland which reads, “The inherent and inalienable dignity of the human being shall constitute a source of freedoms and rights of persons and citizens. It shall be inviolable. The respect and protection thereof shall be the obligation of public authorities.” This provision declares the independence of the status of the person from positive law and points to natural law as a source of his or her fundamental rights. It is therefore the obligation of the legislator to produce such legislation that does not compromise human dignity, on the one hand, and protects it, on the other. A legal system rested on this assumption should also recognize the biological reality that the human organism is created already at the time of the merger of gametes and be capable of dispelling any doubts, based on the principle in dubio pro vita humana, in dubio pro persona.1

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