Chapter

Conclusion: The Role of the Law

John Seymour

in Childbirth and the Law

Published in print July 2000 | ISBN: 9780198264682
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682759 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198264682.003.0014
Conclusion: The Role of the Law

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This book examined legal intervention during pregnancy and after childbirth. Intervention before birth can be undertaken in an attempt to protect the fetus against harmful conduct. After birth, it can take the form of a damages claim if negligence has caused an adverse outcome. Action of the first kind is designed to promote the safe delivery of a healthy child. Action of the second kind, while not directly promoting this aim, can indirectly protect maternal and fetal welfare by seeking to deter the repetition of similar negligent conduct. It also has the aim of providing compensation for those affected by the negligence. This chapter offers concluding comments on the role of the law in fulfilling these varied objectives. In doing so, it considers the concepts and techniques on which the law relies. In addition, it returns to the legal problems posed by the relationship between a pregnant woman and her fetus and to the implications of recognizing the woman’s autonomy.

Keywords: legal intervention; pregnancy; pregnant women; fetus; autonomy

Chapter.  6180 words. 

Subjects: Medical and Healthcare Law

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