Should a Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Carry Her Child to Full Term? the Case of the "Erlanger Baby"
Bioethics. 1993 Jul; 7(4): 340-350.
In October 1992 a young woman died in a car accident. She was pregnant and her fetus appeared to be unhurt, so a decision had to be made: should the mother's body be artificially supported in order to give the fetus a chance to live? The situation became a public question that split the nation in two. One side demanded -- that the young woman -- and her child -- be left to die in dignity. The other side referred to the unborn child's right to live and therefore wanted the body of the woman maintained until the fetus could be born. The following report consists of four parts. The first describes the case. In the second part the decision and its official justification are presented. The third part offers an impression of the unusual emotional reactions to which the case of the "Erlanger Baby" has given rise. The final part is a discussion of the issue and some comments.
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