Mother Unborn Conflict in the Sphere of Medical Care – The Right to Refusal of Medical Treatment by Pregnant Woman

Muhammed Yasil
National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
Kerala, India

Volume I, Issue V, 2018

Every individual has got the right to access on quality and affordable medical care. The individual right to access is coupled with a right to access of medical treatment and the right to refusal of such medical treatment. The paper aims to address the issues with regard to refusal of medical treatment by pregnant women. The right to refuse medical treatment is closely related to informed consent. A comparative study on the refusal of treatment as a right in different legal systems particularly among the developed countries has been made. Under the common law the right to refuse medical treatment is based on the concept of bodily autonomy. The right to refusal of treatment by pregnant women is exercised on the basis of religious, privacy reasons etc. The English Law has got clear picture on the right to refuse medical treatment, which was laid down in Cruzan v. Missouri Department of Health. The Indian position in this regard is still vague because of some existing principles regarding bodily autonomy and abortion laws. The state interest in the Maternal – Fetal conflict has been identified. The Courts have recognized the  four counter availing measure for the , states interest that may be used to override  a patient right to refuse treatment on the basis of prevention of suicide, preservation of life, protection of third parties, lastly the preservation of ethical integrity of medical profession. The Courts evolved the States interest in fetal life as a justification for compelled treatment.


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