This Article tries to explicate the way in which legal regulation interacts with the medical profession's theories of health and illness in order to construct the social reality of health care and of specific issues such as infanticide. Part II of the Article demonstrates how the professional autonomy granted to medicine by the legal system makes possible professional domination over individual decisions and reinforces a societal view of health issues compatible with continued medical dominance. Part III shows how this legal dominance expresses itself in the infanticide context. Part IV analyzes basic flaws in the presumptions underlying the legal system of autonomy, as illustrated again by the infanticide example. The Article concludes that professional authority over health matters has been vastly overextended but that reclaiming lay control will require a serious re-examination of the basic legal structure of health care.
Patrick A. Malone, Medical Authority and Infanticide, 1 J.L. & Health 77 (1985-1987)