Fetal Personhood: The Raw Edge of Obstetrical Practice and Ethics

Award Year:
Elizabeth Armstrong
Medical Ethics, Maternal and Child Health
For her Investigator Award project, Fetal Personhood: The Raw Edge of Obstetrical Practice and Ethics, Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong examines the controversial notion of the fetus as person and the implications of this concept for pregnant women and the doctors who care for them. She explores how technological advances, cultural and political influences, and legal developments have affected the maternal-fetal relationship, the obstetrician-patient relationship, the practice of obstetrics, and professional ethics. By studying the conflicts that have emerged as the fetus has assumed a more prominent role in obstetrical practice, Dr. Armstrong aims to improve our understanding of patient autonomy and professional responsibility and how they affect clinical decision-making. Her work should provide new insights into prenatal care delivery and the evolution of professional ethics.