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The choice theory and the right to life: capital punishment, abortion and euthanasia
thesisposted on 2022-03-29, 03:21 authored by Yujie Zhang
This thesis deals with debate about the legitimacy of capital punishment, abortion and euthanasia. It adopts the two competing theories of rights - the will and the interest- to examine existing arguments, for the purpose of finding a fresh argument that can provide a legally robust answer to such debate. The thesis highlights the modern version of the will approach, namely the Choice Theory, which defines a right as a choice held by the right holder over the performance of the duty bearer. This thesis contends that all existing arguments regarding the debate can be interpreted as resting on certain accounts of the right to life, via the concept of a will, a choice, a benefit or an interest. When conceived in this way, weaknesses and strengths of the arguments, namely their ability or inability to reach definite, consistent and acceptable conclusions to the three practices in question, can be critiqued usefully. The best argument is therefore one that possesses merits of certainty, conclusiveness, consistency and acceptability; the thesis finds this to be one raised on the grounds of rights that implies a concept of the right to life as a choice. This leads to the conclusion that capital punishment, abortion and euthanasia all ought to be permitted, unless the law has otherwise incorporated a duty to the contrary. The Choice Theory proves to be the most reliable interpretation of the right to life as regards the legitimacy of the three issues.