Beyond Abortion: Refusal of Caesarean Section
Bioethics. 1989 Apr; 3(2): 106-121.
Social pressures and legal restrictions are proliferating against pregnant women. A dramatic infringement on women's rights is the court ordered cesarean section, as illustrated by the case of Angela C., a terminally ill cancer patient, 26 weeks pregnant, whose refusal of a cesarean section was overridden by a District of Columbia court. The premature infant and the mother died within two days. This case epitomizes a developing judicial pattern whose ethical reasoning the author criticizes. Within the context of the right to privacy and the concept of viability, which could legally override that right, Mahowald analyzes different situations where cesarean delivery is refused. After arguing that court ordered cesarean sections are inconsistent with court refusals to force persons to undergo less invasive procedures (e.g., bone marrow donation for the benefit of family members), she proposes alternatives to the present inconsistent practice. (KIE abstract)
Abortion; Alternatives; Autonomy; Beneficence; Bone Marrow; Cancer; Cesarean Section; Coercion; Constitutional Law; Consent; Decision Making; Drug Abuse; Family Members; Fetuses; Health; Informed Consent; Injuries; Judicial Action; Law; Legal Aspects; Legal Rights; Maternal Health; Moral Obligations; Mother Fetus Relationship; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Paternalism; Physicians; Pregnant Women; Privacy; Rights; State Interest; Terminally Ill; Tissue Donation; Treatment Refusal; Viability; Women's Rights;
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