Revisiting the Limits of Professional Autonomy image

Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 41, No. 1
Maayan Sudai (Student Fellow Alumna)


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From the paper:

Social movements that seek to change biomedical policy face the particularly challenging task of effectively contesting the scientific and normative basis used to justify medical professional practices in the present. Such is the case of the intersex rights movement, which fights to change the medical standard of genital-normalizing surgeries in infancy. To change conventional medical policy, the movement is required not only to establish that such treatments are infringing on rights to bodily integrity and autonomy, but it also must invalidate the scientific ground on which the current treatment protocol is established. This article analyzes and compares medical and legal activism, which are the two main approaches to achieving change in the intersex rights movement. This article argues that medical activism leads to a substantial democratization of the policy-making process, and legal activism helps politicize the standard of care and stirs a public discussion over its legitimacy. 

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bioethics health law policy