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Article
April 17, 1991

Legal Intervention During Pregnancy-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Committee on Medicolegal Problems Chicago, Ill

American Medical Association Committee on Medicolegal Problems Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1991;265(15):1953. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460150057022

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Abstract

In Reply.—  In its report on legal interventions during pregnancy, the Board of Trustees concluded that physicians should not seek to override a pregnant woman's refusal of treatment unless three criteria are satisfied: (1) the treatment poses an insignificant—or no— health risk to the woman; (2) the treatment entails no more than a minimal invasion of the woman's bodily integrity; and (3) the treatment would clearly prevent substantial and irreversible harm to the fetus. Cesarean section entails more than a minimal invasion of the woman's bodily integrity.Although Chervenak and McCullough present a compelling scenario for intervention, there are important reasons why the board disagrees. Individuals have a fundamental interest in controlling invasions of their bodily integrity. Thus, while courts allow minor intrusions, like vaccinations or blood tests, and a few women have been required to undergo cesarean sections, courts have not required anyone other than a pregnant woman to

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