Ethical and legal issues in the care of the impaired newborn

Clin Perinatol. 1987 Jun;14(2):345-60.


The subject is approached from the standpoint of the debates and events of the "Baby Doe era," from 1982 to 1985. Historic episodes of mass infanticide and practices in other cultures, while often cited as warnings of moral peril, are difficult to apply to the problem of infant euthanasia. Key cases in American courts are reviewed, although no standard pattern of analysis is found to have emerged. The two streams of policy making at the national level, from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Congress, have effectively led back to underlying ethical dilemmas about the proper interpretation of the infant patient's best interests. The conclusion alludes to several issues that neonatal ethics has yet to confront.

MeSH terms

  • Beneficence
  • Ethics Committees, Clinical
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Federal Government
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • Infant Care*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy*
  • Judicial Role
  • Jurisprudence*
  • Patient Selection
  • Supreme Court Decisions
  • United States
  • Value of Life
  • Withholding Treatment*