Refusal of treatment during pregnancy

Clin Perinatol. 2003 Mar;30(1):127-40, vii-viii. doi: 10.1016/s0095-5108(02)00082-9.


A survey of maternal-fetal medicine fellowship directors in the 1980s found that many supported coercive treatment of pregnant women for the sake of their potential children. To examine whether legal, social, and medical developments since then have led to changes in practice or attitudes about this issue, we surveyed current directors of maternal-fetal medicine fellowship programs. Our data show that the number of requests for court orders in such cases has declined, but some practioners and judges still support them. In this article we offer an update on pertinent legal rulings, describe the method and results of our study, and discuss ethical aspects of the issue.

MeSH terms

  • Civil Rights
  • Female
  • Fetal Diseases / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Treatment Refusal / ethics
  • Treatment Refusal / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States