Operating on the Fetus
Hastings Center Report. 1982 Oct; 12(5): 10-14.
The advent of fetal surgery is analyzed in terms of its implications for the moral status of the fetus, its bearing on the abortion debate, and its effect on the nature of the physician patient relationship. Three types of therapeutic contracts are posited: the "gynecological," in which the pregnant woman is considered the primary patient; the "pediatric," in which the focus is on the fetus; and the "obstetrical," in which the woman and fetus have a shared interest in treatment. It is concluded that the possibility of fetal therapy does not preclude the "gynecological" and "obstetrical" contracts as moral options. (KIE abstract)