When Should Society Override Parental Decisions? A Proposed Test to Mediate Refusals of Beneficial Treatments and of Life-Saving Treatments for Children

In Nico Nortjé & Johan C. Bester (eds.), Pediatric Ethics: Theory and Practice. Springer Verlag. pp. 421-436 (2021)
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Abstract

Health care workers or others may wish to override parental decisions because of their impact on the health or safetySafety of a child or others. Justification of such an action requires two types of principle: an authorityAuthority principle that designates the process for reversal, and anPrincipal, interventionintervention principleIntervention principle that specifies the grounds for reversal. It is generally accepted that states may overruleOverruleparentsParents’ decisions for good cause. I argue that the role of the state is to provide sufficient protection against parental malfeasance. Parental malfeasance can be construed as either exposing a child to harmHarm or as insufficient defense of the child’s interestsChild's interests. I propose a test to determine what sorts of parental decisions might trigger intervention. I also propose constraints on government action to minimize government unfairness in applying the test. I show how this plays out in application.

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Parental Permission, Childhood Assent, and Shared Decision-Making.S. L. Teti & T. M. Silber - 2021 - In Nico Nortjé & Johan C. Bester (eds.), Pediatric Ethics: Theory and Practice. Springer Verlag. pp. 111-125.

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