Hastings Law Journal


Parents of profoundly impaired neonates often face agonizing decisions regarding the exploitation of medical technologies that may prolong their child's existence but not be able to promise the child a normal life. Some pro-life advocates have attempted to intervene in that parental decision by resorting to litigation to compel life-sustaining treatment in particular cases. Although many find such officious intermeddling offensive, legal condemnation is uncertain. This Article argues that the second Restatement of Torts' formulation of the invasion of privacy tort is flexible enough to support a privacy action by the parents against officious intermeddlers. It first reviews the recent Baby Jane Doe litigation to illustrate a typical instance of officious intermeddling. It next argues that a privacy action on the infant's behalf would fail. Finally, it explores the efficacy of a privacy action on the parents' behalf, concluding that such an action is appropriate despite a dearth of precise precedent and that available defenses would not exonerate the officious intermeddler.

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