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After-birth and before-birth personhood: why the baby should live
  1. Nikolaus Johannes Knoepffler,
  2. Martin J O'Malley
  1. Chair of Applied Ethics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Nikolaus Johannes Knoepffler, Department of Ethics in Science, University of Jena, Zwaetzengasse 3, Jena 07743, Germany; n.knoepffler{at}


The basic human experience of the atrocities in the first half of the 20th century has significantly strengthened the recognition of human dignity and human rights for all born people at the political level. Therefore, the Charter of the United Nations in 1945 and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 1 affirms: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. This article provides an ethical justification of why we in this political consensus should not waver, and why we should grant the right to life to all born human infants. Moreover, there is an ethical justification to granting the right to life even to unborn human beings, who already bear a human face.

  • Abortion
  • Human Dignity
  • Mentally Ill and Disabled Persons
  • Newborns and Minors

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