Doctors, Patients, and the Constitution: A Theoretical Analysis of the Physician's Role in 'Private' Reproductive Decisions

55 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019

See all articles by Susan Frelich Appleton

Susan Frelich Appleton

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: July 31, 2019

Abstract

This article examines the roles of the physician and of current medical practice in the evolving legal status of abortion. In doing so, this article considers “constitutional privacy” from a perspective different from other inquiries, which almost always have emphasized the individual patient as the right-holder, and concludes that, at least in the abortion context, the Court’s vision of privacy consistently makes the doctor, not the patient, the centerpiece of the analysis. By contrast, an approach that views abortion restrictions as sex-based discrimination, as advanced by several scholars, would refocus abortion jurisprudence on the patient while also providing a helpful path for resolving challenges to informed consent requirements and other laws singling out abortion for special regulation.

Keywords: privacy, liberty, physicians, sex discrimination, informed consent

Suggested Citation

Appleton, Susan Frelich, Doctors, Patients, and the Constitution: A Theoretical Analysis of the Physician's Role in 'Private' Reproductive Decisions (July 31, 2019). 63 Wash. U. L.Q. 183 (1985); Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 19-07-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3430762

Susan Frelich Appleton (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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