chapter  20
16 Pages


20.1 Introduction

The right to life operates in relation to two aspects of State power. The first is the ability of public authorities to kill people, through capital punishment or the mobilisation of its police and armed forces to quell civil unrest. The second is the role of public authorities in regulating individuals’ decisions over their own life and death, by way of terminating pregnancy, assisted suicide, or the killing of other citizens. In addition to these direct controls, the State, as the largest supplier of medical services, has an indirect role in making decisions about the rationing of health care, which may lead to people’s death.