Women and Children in Health Care: An Unequal Majority

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1996 - Medical - 304 pages
The ideal of equality constitutes a criterion for assessing current practice through attention to differences among individuals and groups. Inequality occurs when irrelevant differences are invoked in order to secure power or advantages over others. This book examines health care issues from an egalitarian perspective, focusing particularly on those that affect the lives of women and children. These are some of the most hotly debated, controversial, yet genuinely humanitarian issues of our time. They include gender stereotypes in medicine and in adolescent socialization, fertility curtailment and enhancement, coercive treatment during pregnancy, fetal tissue transplantation, decisions regarding newborns, decision-making by minors, the feminization of poverty and its impact on women's and children's health, and the meaning and role of "family" in health care decisions. The book describes a case-based or "feminine" model of reasoning as appropriate to the health care setting, but also as a possible rationale for exploitation of women. Different versions of feminism are clearly explained and specifically related to care-based reasoning. To overcome the pitfalls of paternalism and excessive stress on patient autonomy, a concept of "parentalism" is defended. An egalitarian perspective, the author claims, involves use of one's power to empower others. Because of the timeliness of the topics discussed, and the depth of detail, this book will be necessary reading for all bioethicists, health-care analysts and policy-makers, and women's studies researchers.
 

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Contents

List of Cases
3
List of Cases
18
SexRoles and Stereotypes in Health Care
24
A Parentalist Model
32
A neonatologist in the delivery room
38
A Unique Specialty
42
Complexity and Conflict
59
Pregnancy severely threatens a womans health
60
Coercive Treatment After Fetal Viability
131
Refusal of surgical delivery recommended for both pregnant woman
138
Fetal Tissue Transplantation
148
Decisions Regarding Disabled Newborns
167
Doe babies 17071
170
When therapy is futile
177
Babies Doe Revisited
181
Childrens capacity for moral agency
189

Selected Issues
76
Contraception to promote health
79
Before and After Conception
83
Fertility Enhancement and the Right to Have a Baby
93
Insemination of a single woman
100
Egg Donation
102
In Vitro Development and Childbirth
114
Maternal altruism and a viable fetus
125
Childrens Concepts of Illness and Death
194
A critically ill mother wants to see her critically ill child
197
Anorexia Nervosa and a Feminine Ideal of Thinness
208
13
217
A childs interests versus those of an elderly adult
227
Adolescent pregnancy in a dysfunctional family 24950
249
Copyright

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About the author (1996)


Mary Briody Mahowald is Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the College, and Assistant Director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics of the University of Chicago.

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