Is the legal protection that is given to the expression of Abrahamic religious belief adequate or appropriate in the context of English medical law? This is the central question that is explored in this book, which develops a framework to support judges in the resolution of contentious cases that involve dissension between religious belief and medical law, developed from Alan Gewirth’s Principle of Generic Consistency (PGC).
This framework is applied to a number of medical law case studies: the principle of double effect, ritual male circumcision, female genital mutilation, Jehovah’s Witnesses (adults and children) who refuse blood transfusions, and conscientious objection of healthcare professionals to abortion. The book also examines the legal and religious contexts in which these contentious cases are arbitrated. It demonstrates how human rights law and the proposed framework can provide a gauge to measure competing rights and apply legitimate limits to the expression of religious belief, where appropriate. The book concludes with a stance of principled pragmatism, which finds that some aspects of current legal protections in English medical law require amendment.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Mode of Inquiry: An Indirect Application of the Principle of Generic Consistency
Chapter 3: The Religiously-Inspired Principle of Double Effect in English Medical Law
Chapter 4: Adult Jehovah’s Witnesses and Refusal of Blood Transfusions in English Medical law
Chapter 5: Children, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Refusal of Blood Transfusions
Chapter 6: Ritual male circumcision and the manifestation of religious belief in English Medical law
Chapter 7: Illegal Circumcision: Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Chapter 8: Is Appropriate Protection given under English law to Conscientious Objection to Abortion?
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Scientific and clinical advances, social and political developments and the impact of healthcare on our lives raise profound ethical and legal questions. Medical law and ethics have become central to our understanding of these problems, and are important tools for the analysis and resolution of problems – real or imagined.
In this series, scholars at the forefront of biomedical law and ethics will contribute to the debates in this area, with accessible, thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial ideas. Each book in the series will develop an independent hypothesis and argue cogently for a particular position. One of the major contributions of this series is the extent to which both law and ethics are utilised in the content of the books, and the shape of the series itself.