Knowing who to trust: women and public health

In this issue of the JME, age-old questions around how to balance the interests of mother and fetus are revisited in two separate contexts: alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and maternal request caesarean sections. Both have been the subject of recent controversy in the UK, with March 2022 seeing the introduction of (contentious) new National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) Quality Standards on combatting foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and the publication of the long-awaited Ockenden Review into a series of failures in NHS maternity care. Both raise important questions about the role of healthcare professionals in policing women’s choices during pregnancy and childbirth, and of the importance of deference to and trust in those choices.

Cressida Auckland: J Med Ethics August 2022 Vol 48 No 8

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