Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Fundamental Rights: EU: Article 3: Integrity of the person

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-07-05

This is the third in a series of posts that will explore issues from the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft EU constitution (see official PDF or my reworking into HTML).

The first chapter of the charter concerns dignity.

Update to musings on profit from body parts here.

Article 3: Right to the integrity of the person

  1. Everyone has the right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity.
  2. In the fields of medicine and biology, the following must be respected in particular:
    • the free and informed consent of the person concerned, according to the procedures laid down by law,
    • the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at the selection of persons,
    • the prohibition on making the human body and its parts as such a source of financial gain,
    • the prohibition of the reproductive cloning of human beings.

My first thought is that this is starting to get not only into the rights of individuals, but rights for collectives and abstractions: in this case, the article includes things that could be better termed the integrity of the species.

The item about financial gain for sale of body parts presents some administrative difficulties with the separation of financial gain versus fair compensation (e.g. for loss of pay when off work because you are donating a kidney and covering medical expenses for recovery of the donor), although it certainly has a problem with common practice in places other than the Europe, Australia, and probably NZ and Canada.

As stated in the first post in this series, I welcome debate with each post as to whether or not the associated article in the draft EU Charter is worthwhile and should be included in an Australian Charter of Fundamental Rights, but would be very interested to get a comment if you think the article should not be considered a fundamental right.

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