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Privacy as a Basic Individual Right - Essay Example

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Privacy as a basic individual right: Name: Institution: The Supreme Court as from 1923 to present interprets the 1th amendment as such; there is a broad right of privacy mainly in regard to procreation, marriage and its termination, and medical treatment termination…
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Privacy as a Basic Individual Right
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Download file to see previous pages However, privacy runs through out the constitution in the 27 amendments. Regardless of the purpose of the act or legislation, it has an effect on the privacy of an individual. (Yero, 2006). Most scholars of the law interpret the ninth amendment to mean that certain rights of the individual though not exclusively described in the bill of rights need to be protected. The privacy right, therefore, extends to anonymity, security and bodily integrity. Dignity and respect are the fundamental principles that define the need for privacy. To argue my point, I will look at a controversial aspect of human beings that is life and death. The controversy of life and death in regard to invasion or restriction to privacy can be seen in the following situations; prisoners on death row, euthanasia, abortion and termination of medical treatment. Euthanasia: this is the intentional inducement of death at the request of the victim (person dying). Persons seek euthanasia because they need to be relieved from dire pain or want a dignified exit from the world if they are for instance in a gross, non reversible state. In past cases, the courts gave rulings in support of rule utilitarian utterly disregarding act utilitarian. However, the interference of human rights activities in the situation has led to considerations on the matter (McDougall, 2008). Case study: Britain, 1992, Dr Cox faced prosecution for allegedly performing Euthanasia. The patient, Mrs. Boyes, aside from being terminally ill was in excruciating pain. To end her suffering, she requested her doctor to end her life. During court proceedings, the argument on whether or not the patient had the right to request death and the doctor’s jurisdiction on the matter took centre stage. The prosecution argued that the patient was in pain, making delusional and, therefore, prone to make life threatening decisions. In response to this claim, the family said the patient was sane hence her decision to choose death instead of living in pain. From the above case, the question of personal liberties springs up. Do individuals have the personal liberty to take their own life at will? Are there exceptional circumstances where the law allows an individual to die? The patient wanted to die with dignity, she also expected her doctor to respect her decision to die and finally, to maintain her bodily integrity. Closer home; there is the Quinlan vs. Missouri State case. In 1975, Ann Quinlan went into a coma that reduced her to a vegetative state. Her parents legally took up the role of making decisions for her. Ann’s parents were Catholics (privacy of beliefs, 1st Amendment) (Yero, 2006) in which case they believed in the sanctity of life but not in living by support of artificial means. In view of this, they decided that Ann should not be on life support machines. The state challenged the parents stand, but the courts ruled in favor of Ann’s parents, therefore, respecting their religious stand. Contradictions: Jurisdictions impinge upon an individual’s right to privacy on the matter of life and death. The American law describes mercy killings as criminal homicide despite personal liberties. So where is the contradiction? The state of Oregon for instance passed the assisted suicide and Death with Dignity Act making euthanasia a personal liberty. In Texas, the Advance Directives Act Section 166.046 affords medical and health care facilities the right to terminate life-sustaining treatment in cases where continued treatment is futile. Therefore, in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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