David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 20 (3):407-436 (2000)
Although a pregnant woman can now refuse any medical treatment needed by the fetus, the Court of Appeal has acknowledged that ethical dilemmas remain, adverting to the inappropriateness of legal compulsion of presumed moral duties in this context. This leaves the impression of an uncomfortable split between the ethics and the law. The notion of a pregnant woman refusing medical treatment needed by the fetus is troubling and it helps little simply to assert that she has a legal right to do so. At the same time, the idea that a pregnant woman fails in her moral duty unless she accepts any recommended treatment or surgery—however great the burdens—is also not without difficulty. This article seeks to find a way between these two somewhat polarized positions by arguing that, instead of being a question primarily about whether legally to enforce moral obligations, the «maternal—fetal conflict» begins with previously unrecognized difficulties in determining when a woman's prima facie moral rights invoked in the treatment context should «give way» to the interests of the fetus. This difficulty is mirrored within the law. Thus, how can we tell when a pregnant woman has the moral or legal duty to submit to a caesarean section? Seen in this way, the conflict is a problem which lies at the interface between moral and legal rights and duties, showing that there are important conceptual links between the ethics and the law. Against this background, this article explores the limits of a pregnant woman's right to bodily integrity by focusing upon the idea of her moral duty to aid the fetus through her body. Here we find difficulties in determining the existence and extent of this somewhat extraordinary duty. Such a duty is contrasted with both negative and positive duties toward others in the course of «general conduct». Attention to the social context of pregnancy and the refusal of treatment within this is also instructive. Overall, the purpose is to foster understanding and acceptance of the current legal position
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Wim Vandekerckhove & Eva E. Tsahuridu (2010). Risky Rescues and the Duty to Blow the Whistle. Journal of Business Ethics 97 (3):365 - 380.
Jason MacGregor & Martin Stuebs (2013). The Silent Samaritan Syndrome: Why the Whistle Remains Unblown. Journal of Business Ethics 120 (2):1-16.
Similar books and articles
Christoph Anstötz (1993). Should a Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Carry Her Child to Full Term? The Case of the "Erlanger Baby". Bioethics 7 (4):340-350.
Aug Nishizaka (2007). Hand Touching Hand: Referential Practice at a Japanese Midwife House. [REVIEW] Human Studies 30 (3):199 - 217.
Judith Lorber (1989). Choice, Gift, or Patriarchal Bargain? Women's Consent to in Vitro Fertilization in Male Infertility. Hypatia 4 (3):23 - 36.
Raia Prokhovnik (2002). Rational Woman: A Feminist Critique of Dichotomy. Distributed Exclusively in the Usa by Palgrave.
Jeff McMahan (2006). Paradoxes of Abortion and Prenatal Injury. Ethics 116 (4):625-655.
Frederic B. Fitch (1973). Natural Deduction Rules for English. Philosophical Studies 24 (2):89 - 104.
Rebecca Hanrahan (2007). The Decision to Abort. International Journal of Applied Philosophy 21 (1):25-41.
Stellan Welin (2004). Reproductive Ectogenesis: The Third Era of Human Reproduction and Some Moral Consequences. Science and Engineering Ethics 10 (4):615-626.
Erwin Bernat (2001). Abortion Without Free and Informed Consent? An Austrian Case of First Impression. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (3):311 – 321.
Howard Minkoff & Anne Drapkin Lyerly (2010). Samantha Burton and the Rights of Pregnant Women Twenty Years After In Re A.C. Hastings Center Report 40 (6):13-15.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads7 ( #203,584 of 1,413,246 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #153,719 of 1,413,246 )
How can I increase my downloads?