Gay rights one baby-step at a time: protecting hospital visitation rights for same-sex partners while the lack of surrogacy rights lingers: comment on "Ethical challenges in end-of-life care for GLBTI individuals" by Colleen Cartwright

J Bioeth Inq. 2012 Sep;9(3):361-3. doi: 10.1007/s11673-012-9388-5. Epub 2012 Jul 31.


Recognizing that GLBTI individuals are often barred from visiting their partners in hospitals or from acting as health care surrogates for incapacitated partners, President Obama directed the Department of Health and Human Services to address these issues. In response, the department amended its rules to prohibit hospitals from restricting, limiting, or denying visitation privileges on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. But the changes do not affect the designation of a health care surrogate, a matter largely governed by state law. Therefore, subject to state law, same-sex partners can still be legally barred from making health care decisions for their incapacitated partners, and it remains essential that they execute advance directives and appoint one another as their health care proxies.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Female*
  • Humans
  • Terminal Care / legislation & jurisprudence*