oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - The harm principle and the ethics of routine antenatal HIV testing in South Africa

Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1999-7639



The harm principle states that '[t]he only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others'. Despite its apparent simplicity, the harm principle is 'a mere convenient abbreviation for a complicated statement that includes, among other things, moral judgements and value weightings of a variety of kinds'.

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