American Journal of Bioethics.

Restricting Choices of Childbearing Women

In this month’s issue of AJOB, Howard Minkoff and Mary Faith Marshall (2016) argue that we ought to acknowledge the inherent complexity and personal nature of risks involved in childbirth, and thus defer, when possible, to the decisions made by autonomous mothers-to-be. They place this in opposition to the claim that, “women have the right to choose how and where to give birth, but they do not have the right to put their baby at risk,” and discourage deference to the evaluations of clinicians and judges (Lancet Editor 2010). However, for mothers-to-be to access autonomy presupposes access to options that may not exist in the world, and in our current system that overwhelmingly favors medicalized birth, access to other birth options is limited (Minkoff and Marshall 2016). […]

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Volume 16, Issue 2
February 2016