Rejecting the baby Doe rules and defending a "negative" analysis of the best interests standard

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (4):331 – 352 (2005)
Two incompatible policies exist for guiding medical decisions for extremely premature, sick, or terminally ill infants, the Best Interests Standard and the newer, 20-year old "Baby Doe" Rules. The background, including why there were two sets of Baby Doe Rules, and their differences with the Best Interests Standard, are illustrated. Two defenses of the Baby Doe Rules are considered and rejected. The first, held by Reagan, Koop, and others, is a "right-to-life" defense. The second, held by some leaders of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is that the Baby Doe Rules are benign and misunderstood. The Baby Doe Rules should be rejected since they can thwart compassionate and individualized decision-making, undercut duties to minimize unnecessary suffering, and single out one group for treatment adults would not want for themselves. In these ways, they are inferior to the older Best Interests Standard. A "negative" analysis of the Best Interests Standard is articulated and defended for decision-making for all incompetent individuals.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/03605310591008487
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,661
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
James Bopp (1990). Choosing Death for Fancy Cruzan. Hastings Center Report 20 (1):42-44.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
B. Andrew Lustig (2005). Challenging "Common-Sense" Assumptions in Bioethics. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (4):325 – 329.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

12 ( #205,927 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.