Ostrovska B. Bioethical concept of human life protection in modern international law
Achievements of scientific and technological progress in the field of biology and medicine certainly have important impact on rescue of human life. At the same time, as a result of their application in practice, the possibilities for controlling the process of human life at all stages of its development increased: from the prenatal stage (before birth) to the biological death of a person, what raised the problem of his rights protection. Especially acute it concerns the issues related to biological process of human life, first of all with its inception, termination, as well as the most critical conditions (when a person is incapable or not able to make decisions and express his own will depends on the stage of his development or the health status). Therefore, before giving a positive assessment and asserting their absolute benefit for a human, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of the safety criterion for some of its achievements for the life of both present and future generations.
It led to more frequent perception of the human not only as a subject (personality), but also as an object of legal relationship (as a donor biomaterial), that caused the usage of his body (organs, tissues, cells) as a commodity and a subject of the contract (rendering of services, purchase and sale, etc.). In view of the above stated, the value of a person depends on the stage of his development, certain physical (biological) indicators and mental qualities (state of health, heredity, gender, etc.).
At first, the right to life was ensured by the abolition of the death penalty and the establishment of prohibitions on illegal acts that violate human dignity (torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, forced medical or scientific research on humans). With development of scientific and technological progress in biology and medicine its content is expanding, that induces to the transformation of the right to life idea, not only as the main fundamental human right, but as a complex of rights related to life (directly connected with physical existence of human as a biological being) through the prism of bioethics and international law.
International legal acts cover numerous issues that often become the most resonant bioethical problems for humanity. Among them are the technology of artificial human reproduction (IVF), cloning and modification of human genes artificial termination of life (abortion, euthanasia), conducting biomedical experiments, voluntary donation, transplantation and others. They include a number of human rights and freedoms that refer to bioethical rights, that is, human rights that relate to the sphere of bioethics as a new interdisciplinary field of knowledge, that has become an important link for combination of natural sciences and the humanities (biology, medicine, law, philosophy).
Current understanding of the content of the right to life includes numerous bioethical aspects connected with development of scientific and technical progress of biology and medicine. Therefore, the question on comparing the purpose and means of manipulation of human life, their moral acceptability is key to further legal legalization of important bioethical positions.
The solution of the above-mentioned problems requires a broad approach in the field of bioethics. The bioethical position is based on the establishment of the value of human life, protection of its rights and dignity, that rejects the idea of laying human life on the altar of science, consumer attitude to the human body. The basis of the bioethical concept is the priority of human and the value of his life. The Oviedo Convention defines an important position concerning primacy of the human being: “The interests and welfare of the human being shall prevail over the sole interest of society or science.” (Article 2).
The article deals with the concept of protection of human life from conception to natural death, which is formed on the basis of the development of bioethics in international law. The analysis of a number of international documents (Declarations, Conventions, Charters, Directives and others) in the context of the relationship between the right to life and other human rights, which becomes an integral part of it, in connection with the threat to human life in the application of some achievements in biology and medicine, has been performed.
The importance of protection of human life at the level of universal international law on the basis of the specified bioethical concept is emphasized. Attention to the need for unification of international legal regulation of bioethical issues in the field of human rights, which is currently open to the international community, is attracted.
Currently, due to the continuous development of biomedical areas in the world the issue of protecting human life and dignity from the bioethics position is actualized, what is becoming an important actual direction of modern international human rights law.
Key words: right to life, human rights, international law, bioethics, concept.