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Hastings Cent Rep. 1988 Feb-Mar;18(1):23-5.

She's going to die: the case of Angela C.

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Health Law Section, Boston University School of Medicine.



Annas criticizes the legal reasoning in a District of Columbia Superior Court case, In re A.C. (1987). A dying woman who was 26 weeks pregnant agreed to attempts to prolong her life to give her fetus a better chance to be born healthy. When death seemed imminent, she appeared to refuse a cesarean section, and a Superior Court judge was called to the hospital on the advice of its legal counsel. After hearing from lawyers for the hospital, the patient, and the fetus, the judge ordered the surgery, and an appeals court concurred. The infant died two hours after delivery, the mother two days later. Annas argues that the decision rested on several false assumptions about the legal rights and obligations of pregnant women. In his view, the judges "justified their brutal and unprincipled opinion on the basis that [A.C.] was almost dead," and therefore the fetus's interests outweighed hers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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