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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

This Article addresses the question of when, if ever, it is ethically and legally permissible to compel a competent, pregnant woman to undergo medical treatment for the sake of her fetus. The Article begins with a discussion of the various clinical situations in which maternal-fetal conflict may arise and the perceptions of clinicians faced with a maternal refusal of treatment. It then explores the ethical questions raised if a physician were to compel a pregnant woman to undergo treatment for the benefit of her fetus. This discussion is followed by an investigation of the legal status of the fetus and the legal interests of the pregnant woman. The Article concludes that pregnant women should not be legally compelled by judges, doctors, or society to accept medical treatment against their wishes.

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