A New Threat to Pregnant Women's Autonomy

ArticleinThe Hastings Center Report 17(4):33-40 · August 1987with30 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.68 · DOI: 10.2307/3563181 · Source: PubMed

    Abstract

    Courts and legislatures are increasingly being called upon to restrict the autonomy of pregnant women by requiring them to behave in ways that others determine are best for the fetuses they carry. The state should not attempt to transform pregnant women into ideal baby-making machines. Pregnant women make decisions about their behavior in the context of the rest of their lives, with all the attendant complexities and pressures. Our interest in helping future children by improving prenatal care would best be furthered by helping pregnant women to make informed, less constrained choices, not by punishing women or depriving them of choices altogether.