During recent years, courts and legislatures have expanded the legal rights of fetuses, which historically were treated as part of the woman carrying them. This expansion of fetal rights has often resulted in conflict between the rights of the fetus and the rights of the woman carrying it. While concern for the health of fetuses is important to the health of our society, the maternal-fetal conflict is often unnecessary, as the health interests of fetuses could be more effectively promoted in ways that would not conflict with the interests of the mother. In this paper I will specifically address whether civil commitment statutes should be used to prevent pregnant women from using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Because the use of civil commitment statutes for this purpose would exacerbate the maternal-fetal conflict, and fetal health could be better promoted in other ways, I conclude that they should not.
University of New Mexico School of Law
Hardy, Dana S.. "Civil Commitment of Pregnant Women as a Means of Protecting Fetuses from Maternal Drug and Alcohol Abuse." (1998). http://digitalrepository.unm.edu/law_studentscholarship/59