Demonstrably Awful: The Right to Life and the Selective Non-Treatment of Disabled Babies and Young Children
University of Warwick - Department of Sociology
University of Wales System - Cardiff Law School
Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 31, No. 4, pp. 482-509, December 2004
Twenty-five years ago it was common practice to bring about the deaths of some children with learning disabilities or physical impairments. This paper considers a small number of landmark cases in the early 1980s that confronted this practice. These cases illustrate a process by which external forces (social, philosophical, political, and professional) moved through the legal system to effect a profound change outside that system - primarily in the (then) largely closed domain of medical conduct/practice. These cases are considered from a socio-legal perspective. In particular, the paper analyses the reasons why they surfaced at that time, the social and political contexts that shaped the judgments, and their legacy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Date posted: December 1, 2004