Withholding Treatment from Baby Doe: From Discrimination to Child Abuse

Questions surrounding withholding treatment from severely impaired newborns have elicited three significantly different substantive and procedural responses: from the Reagan administration’s Department of Health and Human Services through the Carter President’s Commission on Ethical Problems, and subsequent congressional legislation on child abuse. Movement from a rigid and simplistic application of medical imperatives to ambiguous and abstract criteria of the child’s “best interest” represented limited progress. A new legislative compromise principle is an imperfect but practical accommodation to moral and medical realities.

Author(s): Nancy K. Rhoden; John D. Arras

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Volume 63, Issue 1 (pages 18–51)
Published in 1985