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Health and Social Justice$
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Jennifer Prah Ruger

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559978.001.0001

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Grounding the Right to Health

Grounding the Right to Health

(p.118) 5 Grounding the Right to Health
Health and Social Justice

Jennifer Prah Ruger (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a philosophical justification for the elusive ‘right to health’. It provides a framework for health reform efforts and covers the degree to which the right to health is ‘justiciable’ and enforceable as prescribed in international law. The health capability paradigm argues for the right to health as a meaningful and operational right, and recognizes that realizing it requires a commitment to, and internalization of, public moral norms on the part of self and society, in addition to legal instruments for enforcement. This chapter compares positive and negative rights in the Abigail Alliance v. Eschenbach case study of the constitutional right to medical self‐defence. The chapter concludes that a right to health cannot be framed in an absolute libertarian framework of wholly individualistic rights against the state, but requires the more positive conceptualization of freedom as human flourishing.

Keywords:   right to health, international law, public moral norms, constitutional right, medical self defence, libertarianism, positive and negative rights

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