Technology has come to dominate the modern experience of pregnancy and childbirth, but instead of empowering pregnant women, technology has been used to identify the foetus as a second patient characterised as a distinct entity with its own needs and interests. Often, foetal and the woman’s interests will be aligned, though in legal and medical discourses the two ‘patients’ are frequently framed as antagonists with conflicting interests.
This book focuses upon the permissibility of encroachment on the pregnant woman’s autonomy in the interests of the foetus. Drawing on the law in England & Wales, the United States of America and Germany, Samantha Halliday focuses on the tension between a pregnant woman’s autonomy and medical actions taken to protect the foetus, addressing circumstances in which courts have declared medical treatment lawful in the face of the pregnant woman’s refusal of consent.
As a work which calls into question the understanding of autonomy in prenatal medical care, this book will be of great use and interest to students, researchers and practitioners in medical law, comparative law, bioethics, and human rights.
Introduction 1. Court ordered obstetric intervention: the American case law 2. Court authorised obstetric intervention: The English case law 3. The imposition of a duty to protect the foetus upon a pregnant woman and her doctor in Germany 4. Comparative reflections upon court authorised obstetric intervention
Scientific and clinical advances, social and political developments and the impact of healthcare on our lives raise profound ethical and legal questions. Medical law and ethics have become central to our understanding of these problems, and are important tools for the analysis and resolution of problems – real or imagined.
In this series, scholars at the forefront of biomedical law and ethics will contribute to the debates in this area, with accessible, thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial ideas. Each book in the series will develop an independent hypothesis and argue cogently for a particular position. One of the major contributions of this series is the extent to which both law and ethics are utilised in the content of the books, and the shape of the series itself.