Right to life

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For informations about the New York state political party, please see : Right to Life Party.

The right to life, in its broadest sense, refers to the right of human beings to be protected against murder. The idea that murder is wrong is almost universally accepted by all human societies, and the right to life is the most fundamental of all human rights.

The right to life is often invoked in debates surrounding various practices that may or may not qualify as murder, depending on one's point of view: abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, and war.

Juridical views

The United States Declaration of Independence calls life one of the "unalienable rights," meaning that our sense of self-preservation cannot be separated from the human psyche. As a result, the declaration continues, we create governments to secure those rights that will always be part of our nature. When a government no longer respects the most fundamental reasons for its creation, our "right" and "duty" is to overthrow it.

Ethical views

The philosopher Peter Singer holds that the right to life is grounded in the ability to plan and anticipate one's future. This extends the concept to non-humans, such as apes, but since the unborn, infants and severely disabled people lack this, he states that abortion, painless infanticide and euthanasia can be justified (but are not obligatory) in certain special circumstances, for instance in the case of severely disabled infants whose life would cause suffering both to themselves and to their parents. Many people with a pro-life viewpoint would disagree with this perspective.

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