Document Detail

The architect and the bee: some reflections on postmortem pregnancy.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11652348     Owner:  KIE     Status:  MEDLINE    
Do physicians have a duty to sustain the pregnancies of women who die during the first or second trimester? Physicians cannot simply assume that the woman would have wished the pregnancy to continue, nor (in the U.S., at any rate) is it clear that the state has any interest in fetal life before viability. The conditions for beneficence-based duties of fetal rescue will often be unmet, both because sustaining the pregnancy is not always a clear gain to the born child and because it may impose a substantial burden on the benefactor. And duties of special relationship cannot readily be applied in these cases, as it is difficult to see how the relationship between someone who no longer exists and someone who does not yet exist can breed special duties. Further, to draw on Marx's distinction between the architect, who builds purposefully, and the bee, who cannot help what she is doing, I argue that human pregnancy is in a number of respects purposeful, creative, and deliberate, and that postmortem pregnancy, which follows the model of the bee, is a destructive icon that undercuts women's agency.
Hilda Lindemann Nelson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Bioethics     Volume:  8     ISSN:  0269-9702     ISO Abbreviation:  Bioethics     Publication Date:  1994 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1994-10-25     Completed Date:  1994-10-25     Revised Date:  2014-03-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8704792     Medline TA:  Bioethics     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  247-67     Citation Subset:  E    
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MeSH Terms
Biomedical Technology
Brain Death*
Congenital, Hereditary, and Neonatal Diseases and Abnormalities
Embryonic and Fetal Development
Health Care Rationing
Infant, Premature
Labor, Obstetric*
Life Support Care*
Maternal-Fetal Relations*
Moral Obligations*
Personal Autonomy*
Pregnant Women*
Resource Allocation
Risk Assessment
Social Responsibility*
Women's Rights*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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