CONSENSUS DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
Committee Opinion No. 664: Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment During Pregnancy.
One of the most challenging scenarios in obstetric care occurs when a pregnant patient refuses recommended medical treatment that aims to support her well-being, her fetus's well-being, or both. In such circumstances, the obstetrician-gynecologist's ethical obligation to safeguard the pregnant woman's autonomy may conflict with the ethical desire to optimize the health of the fetus. Forced compliance-the alternative to respecting a patient's refusal of treatment-raises profoundly important issues about patient rights, respect for autonomy, violations of bodily integrity, power differentials, and gender equality. The purpose of this document is to provide obstetrician-gynecologists with an ethical approach to addressing a pregnant woman's decision to refuse recommended medical treatment that recognizes the centrality of the pregnant woman's decisional authority and the interconnection between the pregnant woman and the fetus.
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