Louisiana's “Medically Futile” Unborn Child List: Ethical Lessons at the Post-Dobbs Intersection of Reproductive and Disability Justice

Hastings Center Report 53 (1):3-6 (2023)
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Ableist attitudes and structures regarding disability are increasingly recognized across all sectors of healthcare delivery. After Dobbs, novel questions arose in the USA concerning how to protect reproductive autonomy while avoiding discrimination against and devaluation of disabled persons. As a case study, we examine the Louisiana’s Department of Public Health August 1st Emergency Declaration, “List of Conditions that shall deem an Unborn Child ‘Medically Futile.’” We raise a number of medical, ethical, and public health concerns that lead us to argue the declaration should be rescinded. The ethically objectionable declaration provides valuable lessons concerning how to uphold both reproductive and disability justice in a post-Dobbs landscape.

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