This book addresses the law and ethics concerning a pregnant woman's refusal of medical treatment needed by the fetus she carries. In England and some U.S. states a pregnant woman can now refuse such treatment. Nevertheless, courts have acknowledged the residual ethical dilemmas, sometimes adverting to the inappropriateness here of legal compulsion of presumed moral duties. This leaves the impression of an uncomfortable split between the ethics and the law. This study seeks to explain and justify a pregnant woman's legal right to refuse medical treatment and thus resolve, so far as possible, the surrounding ethical, legal and social tensions. The idea of day-to-day maternal conduct which may cause prenatal harm is also touched upon. Innovatively, the author adopts a joint philosophical and legal approach directed to issues both of principle and policy, revealing strong conceptual links between the ethics and the law. In addition to an ethical exploration of the maternal-fetal relationship the author explores the relevant English, American and some Canadian arguments from the law of treatment refusal, abortion, tort and rescue.
About the Author
Rosamund Scott is Professor of Medical Law and Ethics at the Centre of Medical Law and Ethics and the School of Law, King's College, London. She is also a barrister. She is currently (since 2006) a member of the Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.