Shaping parental authority over children's bodies

Abstract
This article questions the assumption of parental rights that frames the current legal paradigm for medical decisionmaking for children in the United States. Focusing on cases in which parents exercised their power to size, shape, and sculpt children's bodies through non-therapeutic surgical and medical interventions, I argue that the current paradigm distorts the parent-child relationship and objectifies children by allowing parents to subordinate their children's interests to their own. Such assertions of power violate the moral principle, deeply embedded in American legal tradition, that no person, even a parent, may subordinate the life, liberty, or body of another for her own purposes. I propose an alternative. Pushing the analogy of parent as trustee developed in family law and moral philosophy, I use principles of trust law to define and apply a trust-based construct of the parent-child relationship that limits parental power over children's bodies. Application of the trustee-based construct separates medical decisions that belong to parents, from decisions that belong to children and those that should be made by a neutral third party.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Options
 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 Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Only published papers are available at libraries
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Michael W. Austin (2007). Fundamental Interests and Parental Rights. International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):221-235.
    Michael W. Austin (2007). Fundamental Interests and Parental Rights. International Philosophical Quarterly 47 (2):221-235.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-03-22

    Total downloads

    19 ( #74,831 of 1,088,810 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,666 of 1,088,810 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


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