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Drink and drugs in pregnancy : can the law prevent avoidable harm to the future child?

Cave, Emma (2007) 'Drink and drugs in pregnancy : can the law prevent avoidable harm to the future child?', Medical law international., 8 (2). pp. 165-187.


Alcohol and drug misuse in pregnancy can cause long-term harm to the born-alive child. Where pregnant women decide to bring the foetus to term but resist medical treatment that will benefit them both, there are two ways in which the law might force it upon them. English courts have resisted the first option which is to grant the foetus a limited right to life under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The second option is to utilise existing criminal, medical and mental health laws to compel pregnant women into treatment for their own good. Some states in the USA utilise such measures. This article considers the potential to do so in English law and the consequences for drug and alcohol dependent pregnant women and their children.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:Cave, Emma (2007). Drink and Drugs in Pregnancy: Can the Law Prevent Avoidable Harm to the Future Child? Medical Law International 8(2): 165-187. Copyright © 2007 A B Academic Publisher. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:13 February 2015
Date of first online publication:March 2007
Date first made open access:No date available

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