Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1575945
 


 



Rawls and the Refusal of Medical Treatment to Children


D. Robert MacDougall


affiliation not provided to SSRN

April 2010

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol. 35, Issue 2, pp. 130-153, 2010

Abstract:     
That Jehovah's Witnesses cannot refuse life-saving blood transfusions on behalf of their children has acquired the status of virtual “consensus” among bioethicists. However strong the consensus may be on this matter, this article explores whether this view can be plausibly defended on liberal principles by examining it in light of one particularly well worked-out liberal political theory, that of Rawls. It concludes that because of the extremely high priority Rawls attributes to “freedom of conscience,” and the implication from the original position that parents must act paternalistically toward their children as their protectors, Jehovah's Witnesses cannot legitimately be barred from making decisions on behalf of their children, even when the consequences of such decisions are serious and irremediable.

Keywords: children, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, Jehovah's witness, paternalism, Rawls

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Date posted: March 22, 2010  

Suggested Citation

Robert MacDougall, D., Rawls and the Refusal of Medical Treatment to Children (April 2010). Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Vol. 35, Issue 2, pp. 130-153, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1575945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmp/jhq006

Contact Information

D. Robert MacDougall (Contact Author)
affiliation not provided to SSRN
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