Is the legal protection that is given to the expression of Abrahamic religious belief adequate or appropriate in the context of English medical law? This is the central question that is explored in this book, which develops a framework to support judges in the resolution of contentious cases that involve dissension between religious belief and medical law, developed from Alan Gewirth’s Principle of Generic Consistency (PGC).
This framework is applied to a number of medical law case studies: the principle of double effect, ritual male circumcision, female genital mutilation, Jehovah’s Witnesses (adults and children) who refuse blood transfusions, and conscientious objection of healthcare professionals to abortion. The book also examines the legal and religious contexts in which these contentious cases are arbitrated. It demonstrates how human rights law and the proposed framework can provide a gauge to measure competing rights and apply legitimate limits to the expression of religious belief, where appropriate. The book concludes with a stance of principled pragmatism, which finds that some aspects of current legal protections in English medical law require amendment.