Avoiding Anomalous Newborns: Preemptive Abortion, Treatment Thresholds and the Case of Baby Messenger
Gross, Michael L.
Journal of Medical Ethics. 2000 Aug; 26(4): 242-248.
In its American context the case of Baby Messenger, a preterm infant disconnected from life-support by his father and allowed to die has generated debate about neonatal treatment protocols. Limited by the legal and ethical norms of the United States, this case did not consider treatment protocols that might be available in other countries such as Denmark and Israel: threshold protocols whereby certain classes of newborns are not treated, and preemptive abortion allowing one to choose late-term abortion rather than risk delivery. Each offers a viable and ethically sound avenue for dealing with the economic and social expense of anomalous newborns by aborting or not treating those most likely to burden the health care system. Objections that these protocols are antithetical to American bioethical prinicples are considered but rejected as each policy answers to economic justice, utility and respect for autonomy.
Abortion; Allowing to Die; Autonomy; Consent; Economics; Fetal Development; Health; Health Care; International Aspects; Justice; Legal Aspects; Life; Late-Term Abortion; Newborns; Parents; Prematurity; Presumed Consent; Prognosis; Public Policy; Resuscitation; Risk; Risks and Benefits; Selection for Treatment; Treatment Refusal; Withholding Treatment;
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Parental Right to Determine Whether to Use Aggressive Treatment for an Early Gestational Age Infant: The Messenger Case Paris, John J. (1997)Manslaughter charges were brought against Dr. Gregory Messenger, a Michigan (USA) dermatologist, for removing his extremely premature infant son from a ventilator in the neonatal intensive care unit. Prior to delivery the ...