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Medical Ethics |

"The Sanctity of Life": An Analysis of a Concept

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

Supported in part by The National Endowment for the Humanities grant EO-4579-71-197.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. K. D. Clouser, Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa. 17033.

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Ann Intern Med. 1973;78(1):119-125. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-78-1-119
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The concept of the sanctity of life has been frequently appealed to but seldom examined. In much of biomedical ethics it is treated as a basic principle. This article is an attempt to discover what this pivotal concept means and to see if it can do the conceptual job in biomedical ethics it purports to do. The concept is found to be impossibly vague and misleading. It can be replaced to advantage by other well-established concepts.


value of life





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