Right to life

Journal articles and books

Cook, R. (With Dickens, B.M.) "Ethical and Legal Approaches to 'the Fetal Patient'" International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 83: 85-91 (2003).
The concept of fetuses being "patients" can serve a benign protective, cautionary purpose, alerting healthcare providers and pregnant women to the implications that medical treatment can have for fetuses. The concept allows women to provide the children they intend to deliver with the care they consider appropriate. A negative effect occurs, however, if healthcare providers decide to treat pregnant women according to providers' own views of the best interests of fetuses, and compromise patients' care and self-determination without their informed consent. Some activists advocate rights of fetuses for the purpose of limiting pregnant women's self-determination. Recognition that fetuses have legitimate interests, rather than rights, is common, and opens a way to balancing various competing interests without compromising patients' rights to decide on their medical care. Courts of law generally favor this approach, and tend to allow few limits on women's choice of indicated medical care while pregnant.
Copelon R., Zampas C., Brusie E., deVore.J. Human rights begin at birth: International law and the claim of fetal rights, Reproductive Health Matters, 13(26): 120-129, 2006.
Laufer-Ukeles P., Reproductive choices and informed consent: fetal interests, women's identity, and relational autonomy, Am J Law Med. 2011;37(4):567-623.
When faced with reproductive choices, women are not provided the balanced and comprehensive information needed to promote their autonomy. In response to the breakdown in patient autonomy instead of leaving women alone to make choices or regulating in order to protect them from their choices, a broader framework for supporting reproductive choices should be established. In light of the interdependence of woman and fetus, as well as the broader social context shaping these decisions, I argue that a more contextual, relational perspective of autonomy should be the goal of informed consent in the context of reproductive choices. I suggest a number of reforms that aim to optimize patient autonomy from a relational perspective.
Zampas, C. & Gher, J.M. Abortion as a Human Right —International and Regional Standards, 8 Human Rights Law Review (2008).
Includes a review of international human rights standards on this issue.