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NCJ Number: 119413 Find in a Library
Title: Consciousness: The Most Critical Moral (Constitutional) Standard for Human Personhood
Journal: American Journal of Law and Medicine  Volume:13  Issue:2 & 3  Dated:(1987)  Pages:233-248
Author(s): R E Cranford; D R Smith
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 16
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that consciousness is the appropriate legal, constitutional, and moral standard for human personhood and points out that Roe v. Wade should have focused on consciousness, not viability, in balancing maternal and fetal rights.
Abstract: A state of permanent unconsciousness causes a loss of human personhood. There are three major clinical types of permanently unconscious patients: those in an eyes-open, persistent vegetative state; those in an eye-closed, coma state; and anencephalic infants. The state of the pre-conscious fetus is also permanent unconsciousness. Because the state of permanently unconscious individuals cannot be improved by medicine or medical treatment, they are more like the dead than the living. The moral, legal, and constitutional considerations affecting the medical care and treatment of permanently unconscious patients are discussed in detail. Those who lack consciousness and personhood also lack constitutional rights since all rights enumerated by the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are predicated on consciousness. 45 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Abortion
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Euthanasia; Medicolegal considerations
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