State courts vary in their willingness to protect pregnant women's rights to self-determination, bodily integrity, privacy, and religious freedom; these rights are sometimes outweighed by fetal rights to live. Different state courts have issued many competing decisions, which emphasizes a lack of unification in this area of law. This inconsistency in the law creates confusion for women concerning the scope of their legal protections and alters women's selection of prenatal care and decision to give birth. Thus, it is important to recognize the prevailing themes and grounds on which courts have rested their opinions. An analysis of these state court rulings will expose a lack of unification among states' interests in protecting either women's rights or fetal rights. This article will first identify the factors that courts have used in their rulings; these are the factors that judges most often have used to support or limit pregnant women's constitutional rights. A psycho-legal analysis then examines the effects of inconsistent rulings on women, the medical profession, and the law. The concluding section will provide recommendations for pregnant women and offer policy suggestions.
Lidia Hoffman and Monica K. Miller,
Inconsistent State Court Rulings Concerning Pregnancy-Related Behaviors,
22 J.L. & Health
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/jlh/vol22/iss2/5