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AT THE NEXUS OF LAW AND ETHICS: A PROPOSED JUDICIAL STANDARD FOR COURT-ORDERED CESAREAN SECTIONS

Maternal-fetal conflicts, specifically court-ordered Cesarean sections, are explored from a legal and ethical perspective. An increase in technology, combined with the rise of bioethics, the respect for autonomy in medical decision-making, and the legal doctrine of informed consent have created an atmosphere in which conflicts may occur between the pregnant woman and her fetus. The scant legal precedent in this area does not provide a clear standard for evaluating cases in which a pregnant woman with a viable fetus refuses a recommended Cesarean section. The analysis first examines the clinical aspects of a Cesarean delivery, and then turns to a discussion of the legal precedent and the potentially analogous areas of law (i.e. abortion, parent-child relationships, and organ donation). In addition, there is an examination of the ethical and policy considerations, which weigh heavily in favor of honoring the pregnant womans wishes over the perceived benefit for the fetus. Finally, a judicial standard is proposed which combines the legal and ethical analyses, and concludes that a court should virtually never override a competent patients decision to refuse a Cesarean section.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:PITT/oai:PITTETD:etd-12062006-142423
Date23 January 2007
CreatorsAyoub, Emily M.
ContributorsAnne Schiff, Alan Meisel, Mark Wicclair, Elizabeth Chaitin
PublisherUniversity of Pittsburgh
Source SetsUniversity of Pittsburgh
LanguageEnglish
Detected LanguageEnglish
Typetext
Formatapplication/pdf
Sourcehttp://etd.library.pitt.edu/ETD/available/etd-12062006-142423/
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