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Abstract

The relationship between a pregnant woman and her fetus is unlike any other in law, medicine, or ethics. This Article examines the complexity of the maternal-fetal conflict, focusing on the interests of the woman and the sometimes conflicting interests of her fetus. Part I discusses the typical analytical background of the conflict, explaining the various ethical principles, rights, and obligations involved such as autonomy, beneficence and nonmaleficence, and justice. Part II explores the various choices made by the pregnant woman, as well as the state’s attempts to regulate those choices on behalf of the fetus. This Article concludes that, while the maternal-fetal relationship may give rise to certain moral rights in the fetus and obligations in the woman, these are not the same as legal rights and responsibilities on the basis of which the state can or should intervene.

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