Human Rights in the United States: Beyond Exceptionalism Cambridge University Press  |  June 9, 2011

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In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed “freedom from want” to be one of the four essential liberties necessary to achieve human security. The polio-stricken president included in his definition of freedom “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health” (Roosevelt 1944, 41). This expansive vision of a right to health, which included both medical care and the preconditions to health, was subsequently incorporated into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and has since been enshrined in many international and regional human rights treaties.

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