Court-ordered caesarian sections against the explicit wishes of the pregnant woman have been criticised as violations of the woman’s fundamental right to autonomy and to the inviolability of the person-particularly, so it is argued, because the fetus in utero is not yet a person. This paper examines the logic of this position and argues that once the fetus has passed a certain stage of neurological development it is a person, and that then the whole issue becomes one of balancing of rights: the right-to-life of the fetal person against the right to autonomy and inviolability of the woman; and that the fetal right usually wins.
Kluge E-H. When caesarian section operations imposed by a court are justified. J Med Ethics. 1988 Dec;14(4) 206-211.