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Human Tissue ResearchA European perspective on the ethical and legal challenges$
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Christian Lenk, Nils Hoppe, Katharina Beier, and Claudia Wiesemann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199587551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199587551.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 January 2022

The biomedical uses of the body: lessons from the history of human rights and dignity

The biomedical uses of the body: lessons from the history of human rights and dignity

(p.3) Chapter 1 The biomedical uses of the body: lessons from the history of human rights and dignity
Human Tissue Research

Y. Michael Barilan

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that human body parts that are detached from a living body cannot be protected by natural human rights. The reason for this is the absence of a real-time link between personal will and the embodied person. However, the ethics of human rights and dignity may bring important lessons to the ethics of using human tissues and remains. Firstly, human tissues are never morally value-free. They may be used only for specific culturally valuable purposes and only in the absence of reasonable substitutes. Secondly, the appropriation of human remains requires some form of consent or endorsement as well, since the human body and body parts are never ‘found objects’, to be exploited at will. Thirdly, dead bodies or tissues are always of concern to humanity. Possession of human tissues and human remains may imply elements of property rights (legal immunity from dispossession) but only in a manner commensurable with human dignity as a public value.

Keywords:   anatomy, human tissues, human rights, human dignity, autonomy, post-mortem interests

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