Send to

Choose Destination
Hastings Cent Rep. 1990 Jul-Aug;20(4):27-9.

Foreclosing the use of force: A.C. reversed.

Author information

Law, Medicine & Ethics Program, Boston University School of Medicine.



On April 26, 1990, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals vacated decisions that had allowed an emergency cesarean to be performed on A.C., who was 26-1/2 weeks pregnant and near death from cancer. The hospital had requested legal intervention despite agreement among A.C.'s family and physicians to honor her wishes to be made comfortable as she died. Annas summarizes the court decision that found that the lower court erred in weighing A.C.'s interests against the state's interests in her fetus rather than determining if A.C. were competent to decide about a cesarean section. If A.C. had been found incompetent, the court should have applied the substituted judgment doctrine to determine her wishes. Annas discusses the importance of In re A.C. in situations where physicians turn to the courts to force compliance from competent pregnant women, a use of the judiciary that Annas calls "counterproductive, unprincipled, sexist, and repressive."

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center