Autonomy and Pregnancy: A Comparative Analysis of Compelled Obstetric Intervention

Samantha Halliday

Research output: Book/ReportBook

15 Citations (Scopus)


Technology has come to dominate the modern experience of pregnancy and childbirth, but instead of empowering pregnant women, technology has been used to identify a second patient, the foetus, characterised as a distinct entity separate from the pregnant woman, with its own needs and interests. Often, the interests of the foetus and the woman will be aligned and their care intertwined; nevertheless, in legal and medical discourses the two ‘patients’ are frequently framed as antagonists with conflicting interests. This book focuses upon the permissibility of encroachment on the pregnant woman's autonomy in the interests of the foetus. Drawing on the law in England and Wales, the United States of America and Germany, Samantha Halliday considers the tension between a pregnant woman's autonomy and medical actions taken to protect the foetus, addressing circumstances in which courts have declared medical treatment lawful in the face of the pregnant woman's refusal of consent. As a work that calls into question the understanding of autonomy in prenatal medical care, this book will be of great use and interest to students, researchers and practitioners in medical law, comparative law, bioethics and human rights.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOxon
Number of pages249
ISBN (Electronic)9781843147206
ISBN (Print) 9780415423038, 9781859419182
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameBiomedical Law & Ethics Library


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