Confidentiality and Treatment Refusal: Conservative Shifts on Reproductive Rights by Brazilian Medical Boards

Forthcoming, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 152.3 (March 2021): 459–464

13 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2021

See all articles by Juliana Cesario Alvim Gomes

Juliana Cesario Alvim Gomes

Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)

Corina Helena Figueira Mendes

Instituto Nacional de Saúde da Mulher, da Criança e do Adolescente Fernandes Figueira

Date Written: November 1, 2020

Abstract

Brazil has witnessed a conservative shift in recent years, reflected in setbacks in the field of reproductive rights. Commentators have drawn attention to changes in public policies and legislation that follow this shift. However, due attention has not been paid to changes in the professional standards regulating the medical practice and their reproductive rights consequences.

Against this backdrop, this article examines two recent resolutions enacted by Brazilian medical boards, which violate ethical duties and the law. The first imposes a duty for doctors to disclose confidential medical information of their patients in sexual abuse cases. The second one determines that a pregnant woman’s right to refuse medical treatment should be evaluated considering the fetus.

The article argues that conservative setbacks operate not only through visible means, such as enacted legislation but also furtively, through professional medical resolutions. It also claims that, in such a context, the debate about women’s bodily autonomy shifts once again from the human rights ground to the medical field, where it has traditionally been subjected to control and coercion.

Finally, it points out the risk that these rules might be used to legitimize new conservative laws and public policies.

Keywords: Brazil; Confidentiality, Gender, Medical Board, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Violence against women, Domestic violence

JEL Classification: I18, J13, I10, K10

Suggested Citation

Cesario Alvim Gomes, Juliana and Figueira Mendes, Corina Helena, Confidentiality and Treatment Refusal: Conservative Shifts on Reproductive Rights by Brazilian Medical Boards (November 1, 2020). Forthcoming, International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 152.3 (March 2021): 459–464, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3751547

Juliana Cesario Alvim Gomes (Contact Author)

Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) ( email )

Av. Antonio Carlos, 6627
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais 31270-901
Brazil

Corina Helena Figueira Mendes

Instituto Nacional de Saúde da Mulher, da Criança e do Adolescente Fernandes Figueira ( email )

716, Flamengo.
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Brazil

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