Advances made by medical science are able to extend human life, sometimes by highly technical means such as life-support systems. Often
these procedures prove life-saving, and the patient recovers fully; at other times, however, life-extending treatment is futile, such as when the
patient is declared brain dead. Advances in reproductive technologies, similarly, have been able bring hope by treating and curing infertility.
This article responds to an article by Professor McQuoid-Mason entitled ‘Terminating the pregnancy of a brain-dead mother: Does a fetus
have a right to life?’ He examines the law in South Africa and the legal implications of the Munoz case, which concerned an application for a
court order to have a brain-dead pregnant woman removed from a ventilator. Departing from Prof. McQuoid-Mason’s discussion, this article
highlights a few of the ethical and legal implications of new technologies that enable pregnancy to be extended beyond the pregnant
woman’s life. This article questions the ethical and legal appropriateness of the use of new technologies, especially in situations where such
use is contrary to the pregnant woman’s express wishes. In this context, the article deliberates on whether the dead may be considered to be
the bearers of rights that must be respected.