Compelled Medical Treatment of Pregnant Women
Nelson, Lawrence J.
JAMA. 1988 Feb 19; 259(7): 1060-1066.
The authors discuss the ethical aspects of the relationship between physicians and pregnant patients involving the reconciliation of maternal-fetal conflict. They analyze the legal aspects of compulsory treatment of pregnant women and its connection with abortion and child neglect law, with the legal status of the fetus, with legal precedents for intervention, and with physician liability for either honoring or disregarding pregnant patients' refusal of treatment that would benefit the fetus. Nelson and Milliken cite the uncertainty of medical diagnostic and therapeutic techniques and the societal values of autonomy and bodily integrity in opposing judicially compelled treatment of pregnant women. They also contend that pregnant women have an ethical obligation to follow those practices and accept reasonable, nonexperimental treatment that will benefit their fetuses. (KIE abstract)
Abortion; Alcohol Abuse; Autonomy; Beneficence; Child Abuse; Coercion; Cultural Pluralism; Child Neglect; Drug Abuse; Fetuses; Government; Government Regulation; Health; Injuries; Judicial Action; Law; Legal Aspects; Legal Liability; Legal Rights; Life; Liability; Maternal Health; Moral Obligations; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Patient Care; Patients; Physicians; Pregnant Women; Prenatal Injuries; Privacy; Public Policy; Regulation; Review; Rights; Risks and Benefits; Refusal of Treatment; State Interest; Treatment Refusal; Uncertainty; Values; Viability; Wrongful Life;