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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 16, Issue 3, Autumn 2016

Alan Vincelette
Pages 401-407

Maternal–Fetal Conflict and Periviability

A recent statement of consensus held that the principle of double effect would allow the induction of a previable fetus in order to eliminate a grave and present danger to the life of a mother suffering from peripartum cardiomyopathy. The author responds to this declaration, points out some limitations preventing it from being a vehicle for broader agreement, and offers an alternative, namely, medical induction of labor in cases of maternal–fetal vital conflict can be justified if the fetus has at least a fair chance of survival. This support of induction in cases of periviability considers the interests of both fetus and mother and, unlike the earlier consensus statement, can be defended by those who hold that one’s moral intention includes both the ultimate and proximate ends, or the immediate consequences of one’s act.

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