What Are Risks and Benefits of Not Incorporating Information about Population Growth and Its Impact on Climate Change into Reproductive Care?
AMA Journal of Ethics, December 2017
Fears about the impact of family planning decisions on the environment are not new. Concerns about population growth have often been conflated with concerns about the increasing demographic influence of specific feared or marginalized groups, leading to subsequent unjust treatment of those targeted populations. In clinical encounters such as this case, in which the patient expresses concerns about having another child in light of the effect of population growth on climate change, it is not appropriate for the clinician to impose environmental protection values on a patient's reproductive decision making, as this risks undermining her autonomy as well as perpetuating injustice. When a patient raises such worries, however, the physician's responsibility is to elicit and try to understand the patient's preferences and then to offer treatment choices that align with those values.
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