Baby Doe at Twenty-Five
Georgia State University Law Review
The so-called Baby Doe Rules, which are federal laws defining "medical neglect" of newborns for states receiving federal funds for child abuse programs, remain controversial twenty five years after they were enacted. To explore their contemporary significance, Georgia State University's College of Law, in partnership with Emory University's Center for Ethics, hosted a law review symposium in February 2009 on "The 25th Anniversary of the Baby Doe Rules: Perspectives from the Fields of Law, Health Care, Ethics, and Disability Policy." Nationally prominent professionals with expertise in neonatal medicine and decision-making in these diverse, interdisciplinary fields spent the day engaged in challenging debate and thoughtful reflection on these federal rules. * This Foreword provides a roadmap to the speakers' essays and an introduction to the complex issues in medicine, bioethics, law, and disability policy that the Baby Doe Rules continue to raise. After twenty-five years, the Baby Doe Rules have not resolved how decisions about appropriate treatment for seriously ill and extremely premature infants should be made, nor have they forged a societal consensus over the standards for decision-making. While the Rules may not be openly used to guide decision-making in much of clinical practice today, they continue to reflect the underlying ethical and societal tensions that prompted their enactment in the first place and that still need to be resolved.
Charity Scott, Baby Doe at Twenty-Five, 25 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 801 (2008).
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Baby Doe at Twenty-Five,
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