Treating Fetuses: The Patient as Person
Trau, Jane Mary
Journal of Medical Humanities. 1991 Winter; 12(4): 173-181.
The medical treatment in utero of human beings raises several ethical questions. I argue that treatment is sufficient to establish the fetus as person; and consider how conflicts between the interests of the fetus and mother are to be resolved when such treatment is proposed. My arguments rest upon a 'relational model' of ethical discourse derived from H. Richard Niebuhr's "ethics of the fitting." I conclude that the limitation of personal autonomy is rarely justified, but may be when direct, grave, harm to others is imminent; and that educative rather than punitive measures are the best prospect for protecting fetal life.
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