Constrained Parental Autonomy and the Interests of Children in Non-Intimate Families

 

Erin Paquette, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 30, no. 3 (Fall 2019): 218-22

 

Children’s age and developmental capacity leave them incapable of making medical decisions for themselves. Decisions for children are traditionally made under the best interest standard. Ross calls into question whether the best interest standard can function as both a guidance and intervention principle, able to be applied across the spectrum of pediatric decision making. Ross describes constrained parental autonomy as an alternative model, arguing that it affords parents the ability to make decisions within the context of their family while upholding a child’s current and future interests. Although the model provides a robust framework for intrafamilial decision making, I question whether it can be broadly applied to children living in non-intimate families.

 

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