Illustrative image for Louisiana s Medically Futile Unborn Child List Ethical Lessons at the Post Dobbs Intersection of Reproductive and Disability Justice

Hastings Center Report

Louisiana’s “Medically Futile” Unborn Child List: Ethical Lessons at the Post-Dobbs Intersection of Reproductive and Disability Justice

Abstract: Ableist attitudes and structures are increasingly recognized across all sectors of health care delivery. After Dobbs, novel questions arose in the United States concerning how to protect reproductive autonomy while avoiding discrimination against and devaluation of disabled persons. In this essay, we examine the Louisiana Department of Health’s emergency declaration, “List of Conditions That Shall Deem an Unborn Child ‘Medically Futile,’” issued August 1, 2022. We raise a number of medical, ethical, and public health concerns that lead us to argue that the declaration should be rescinded. Analysis of this ethically objectionable declaration provides valuable lessons about how to uphold both reproductive and disability justice in a post-Dobbs landscape. 

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