Prenatal Management of Anencephaly

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 102, pp. 304-308, 2008

U Toronto, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-18

6 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2008 Last revised: 10 Nov 2008

See all articles by Rebecca J. Cook

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Joanna N. Erdman

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law

Martin Hevia

Universidad Torcuato Di Tella

Bernard Dickens

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2008

Abstract

About a third of anencephalic fetuses are born alive, but they are not conscious or viable, and soon die. This neural tube defect can be limited by dietary consumption of foliates, and detected prenatally by ultrasound and other means. Many laws permit abortion, on this indication or on the effects of pregnancy and prospects of delivery on a woman's physical or mental health. However, abortion is limited under some legal systems, particularly in South America. To avoid criminal liability, physicians will not terminate pregnancies, by induced birth or abortion, without prior judicial approval. Argentinian courts have developed means to resolve these cases, but responses of Brazilian courts are less clear. Ethical concerns relate to late-term abortion, meaning after the point of fetal viability, but since anencephalic fetuses are nonviable, many ethical concerns are overcome. Professional guidance is provided by several professional and institutional codes on management of anencephalic pregnancies.

Keywords: abortion, anencephaly, induced birth, late-term abortion, lawful abortion, maternal health, termination of pregnancy

JEL Classification: K10, J13, I18, I10

Suggested Citation

Cook, Rebecca J. and Erdman, Joanna N. and Hevia, Martin and Dickens, Bernard, Prenatal Management of Anencephaly (September 1, 2008). International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Vol. 102, pp. 304-308, 2008; U Toronto, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1263905

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

Joanna N. Erdman

Dalhousie University - Schulich School of Law ( email )

6061 University Avenue
6061 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4H9
Canada

Martin Hevia

Universidad Torcuato Di Tella ( email )

Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 7350
Buenos Aires, C1428BCW
Argentina
5411-5169-7185 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.utdt.edu/ver_contenido.php?id_contenido=4134&id_item_menu=8738

Bernard Dickens (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4849 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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