Maternal Substance Abuse and the Limits of Law: A Relational Challenge
AbstractIn an effort to respond to the issue of maternal substance abuse, the following article aims to explore potential alternatives to a paradigm which posits maternal autonomy and fetal interests as inherently conflictual. More specifically, it investigates whether, in the context of maternal civil liability for alcohol and drug use, a relational perspective that promotes healthy maternal and fetal outcomes can be reconciled with an approach that respects women’s reproductive autonomy. In responding to this question, the following discussion will examine the concerns that surround legal intervention, assess current approaches of common law courts to the maternal-fetal relationship, and finally, suggest the need for facilitative strategies that extend beyond the limits of tort.
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