When Caesarian Section Operations Imposed by a Court Are Justified
Kluge, Eike-Henner W.
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1988 Dec; 14(4): 206-211.
Court-ordered caesarian sections against the explicit wishes of the pregnant woman have been criticised as violations of the woman's fundamental right to autonomy and to the inviolability of the person--particularly, so it is argued, because the fetus in utero is not yet a person. This paper examines the logic of this position and argues that once the fetus has passed a certain stage of neurological development it is a person, and that then the whole issue becomes one of balancing rights: the right-to-life of the fetal person against the right to autonomy and inviolability of the woman; and that the fetal right usually wins.
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