Force Majeure : Justification for Active Termination of Life in the Case of Severely Handicapped Newborns after Forgoing Treatment

Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 2 (3):271 (1993)
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The health of newborns has always been subject to the natural lottery. When in the past a severely disabled baby was born, nature provided the “solution,” and the child did not survive. Medical technology has brought about a change; fetuses who would have died during pregnancy or newborns who once would have had little chance to survive are now kept alive. Although these technological advances do benefit many children, the dark side is that more severely handicapped babies are surviving.When a severely disabled baby is born, all persons concerned are faced with emotional difficulties as well as moral and legal dilemmas. Questions that arise include whether it is acceptable, morally and legally, to allow the severely handicapped newborn to die by forgoing treatment or by direct intervention



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