Using bioethics discourse to determine when parents should make health care decisions for their children: Is deference justified?

This Article critiques the current law governing health care decisionmaking for children, and proposes changes in the law consistent with bioethics principles. The basic criticism of existing law is that it is rooted in a rights-based discourse, in which the sick child's interests are decided in the shadow of a parental deference presumption. As a result, too much deference is given to some parents and too little deference to others. Moreover, many of these cases are decided in the context of abuse and neglect, which fails to recognize the moral nature of these medico-ethical decisions. This Article proposes that the rights-based discourse be replaced by a bioethics discourse, guided by the core principles of beneficence and autonomy. With this change in focus, parents would be entitled to deference to the extent the patient's interests were futhered. Specifically, parents would be able to make health care decisions, unless they possessed a conflict of interest making it unlikely that they would be able to serve the child patient's interests. The Article sets forth a taxonomy of categorical and situational conflicts. If a conflict exists, a court must determine the patient's best interests. If a conflict does not exist, parents can make health care decisions within a protected zone of privacy.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 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: 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

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    9 ( #128,915 of 1,089,063 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)


    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.