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End of Life Decisions and Pregnant Women: Do Pregnant Women Have the Right to Refuse Life Preserving Medical Treatment?

A Comparative Study

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In this article the practice of end of life decisions is applied to pregnant women. This is not an easy task as shown by the extensive case law and literature on the subject. The main conclusion of the article is that the pregnant woman's wishes should always be respected whatever the consequences for the foetus may be. Another position would unjustly sacrifice the woman's fundamental rights to bodily integrity and self-determination for the benefit of a non-person. The result is repeated in the situation where the woman is found to be incompetent or brain dead.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of law, University of Antwerp, Venusstraat 23, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium;, Email:


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