Respecting the living means respecting the dead too

Sheelagh McGuinness

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34 Citations (Scopus)
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Why should we respect the wishes which individuals may have about how their body is treated after death? Reflecting on how and why the law respects the bodies of the living, we argue that we must also respect the ‘dead’. We contest the relevance of the argument ‘the dead have no interests’, rather we think that the pertinent argument is ‘the living have interests in what happens to their dead bodies’. And, we advance arguments why we should also respect the wishes of the relatives of the deceased regarding what happens to the bodies of their loved ones. In our analysis, we use objections to organ and tissue donation for conscientious reasons (often presented as religious reasons) to show why the living can have interests in their dead bodies, and those of their dead relatives, and why these interests should be respected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-316
Number of pages20
JournalOxford Journal of Legal Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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