Practical Applications

Part of the Clinical Medical Ethics book series (CMET, volume 3)


In order to prevent serious prenatal harms, the state could employ any number of interventions into the lives of pregnant women. The previous chapters have explored many of these in an abstract way, concentrating on general moral and legal principles and public policy concerns. This chapter, however, will delve into the practical implications of the arguments presented so far, and will analyze some concrete cases. All of the options for interfering with a woman’s liberty in order to prevent prenatal harms cannot be explored here — these are too numerous and diverse to permit comprehensive consideration — so a representative sampling has been chosen: requiring pregnant women to undergo cesarean sections, requiring pregnant drug abusers to enter residential treatment programs, preventing women from working with reproductive hazards in the workplace, and allowing the child who was harmed in utero to sue her mother. These four examples correspond to the four stages during which the state can act to prevent prenatal harms: during delivery, during pregnancy, before conception, and after birth.


Pregnant Woman Cesarean Section Prenatal Care Impaired Child Future Child 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

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