Caring Autonomy: European Human Rights Law and the Challenge by Katri Lõhmus

By Katri Lõhmus

Regardless of its absence within the written textual content of the ecu conference on Human Rights, the ecu court docket of Human Rights now usually makes use of the concept that of autonomy whilst determining circumstances referring to assisted loss of life, sexuality and reproductive rights, self-determination, fulfilment of selections and keep watch over over physique and brain. yet is the concept that of autonomy as expressed within the ECtHR reasoning a suitable software for regulating replica or scientific perform? being concerned Autonomy unearths and evaluates the kind of person the ECtHR expresses and shapes via its autonomy-based case legislation. It claims that from a social and moral viewpoint, the present individualistic interpretation of the concept that of autonomy is insufficient, and proposes a brand new interpreting of the concept is rooted within the acknowledgment and appreciation of human interdependence and the significance of interpersonal belief and care.

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K. Veitch, The Jurisdiction of Medical Law (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), p. 64. Veitch, The Jurisdiction of Medical Law, p. 56; Coggon, ‘Varied and Principled Understandings of Autonomy’, 240; Foster, Choosing Life, Choosing Death, p. 7. O’Neill, Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics. Coggon, ‘Varied and Principled Understandings of Autonomy’, 240. J. Christman, ‘Constructing the Inner Citadel: Recent Work on the Concept of Autonomy’, (1988) 99(1) Ethics 109–24, 114–15. caring, principled, and individual autonomy 33 self-control is guided by standards of rationality and morality that are shaped by the community, or to a certain extent dictated by it, not by the nature of particular relationships in which the individuals participate, or by the responsibilities and attitudes that stem from those relationships.

Although, there was, in the end, some 32 34 36 33 Johansen v Norway, para 27 and 72. Johansen v Norway, para 69. 35 Johansen v Norway, para 73. Johansen v Norway, para 72. Johansen v Norway, para 82–3. 37 In order to decipher what the Court says about autonomy – how it develops and how it is protected – we can start by distinguishing what the case says about Ms Johansen’s autonomy from what it says about the autonomy of her daughter. Although the starting point of the case was Ms Johansen’s right to family life – her plea to be united with her daughter – the emphasis quickly turned to the question of the protection of the development of the child’s autonomy.

Did the welfare authorities afford due regard to the child’s relationship to her mother? Were any real efforts made to unite Ms Johansen with her daughter? If yes, what were they? Despite these shortcomings, I believe that Johansen manages to reveal a glimpse of a concept of autonomy that pays respect to each individual in his or her own right yet is sensitive towards the social conditions that shape and influence the formation of the individual and his or her capacity to exercise autonomy. The case reveals that important aspects of the human condition are relationships, trust, responsibilities, and care.

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