Fetal and Maternal Medicine Review

Research Article

THE ETHICS OF FETOCIDE

FRANK A CHERVENAKa1 c1 and LAURENCE B McCULLOUGHa2

a1 Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York.

a2 Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

The purpose of this article is to provide an ethical framework for fetocide in the practice of obstetrics. Ethically responsible clinical management of pregnancy and its complications requires ethical justification: the giving of reasons that derive from an ethical framework and that together support a conclusion about what ought or ought not to be done in the care of pregnant patients. An ethical framework provides an account of the concepts that are relevant to clinical practice and identifies the clinical implications of these concepts. In this chapter we will present an ethical framework for fetocide based on the ethical concepts of moral status and of the fetus as a patient and identify the clinical implications of this concept for fetocide both before and after fetal viability.

Correspondence:

c1 Frank A Chervenak, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 525 East 68th Street – J130, New York, N.Y. 10065 United States of America.