Family and the

Discussions in family law echo the question of how we are to define families. While there was for many years no basis in common law for family members to make treatment decisions for incompetent adults, for example, a number of court decisions in the 1980s as well as various legislative actions gave families explicit decisional authority in twenty states. By the turn of the century, thirty-five states plus the District of Columbia recognized the authority of family members to make many significant healthcare decisions, should their relatives become incompetent, without having an explicit advance directive. This legal trend makes it all the more necessary to know just who is entitled to count as family. A strictly biological definition does not capture what seems socially significant about single parenting, adoptive parenting, step-parenting, or contract pregnancy. The legal notion of marriage skips over kith—long-standing, committed relationships resembling kinship that might give, say, a neighbor or housemate moral authority to speak on behalf of a patient who is too ill to make treatment decisions. The law also fails to recognize gay and lesbian relationships, though these are often more significant than blood ties to the people within them. On the other hand, functionalist definitions of families require courts to determine whether a particular relationship closely enough approximates an accepted norm of family to count as one. This involves inquiry into such areas as sexual activity, management of finances, and degree of exclusivity and commitment—a profound intrusion into personal privacy.

When one compares the body of family law against the body of law dealing with, for example, commercial transactions, family law seems distinctly underdeveloped and lacking in detail. The reason for this, Lee Teitelbaum argues in

"Intergenerational Responsibility and Family Obligation: On Sharing," is that families, incorporating "diffuse, particularistic, and collective values and relations," tend to reflect a wide-ranging set of circumstances and goals, while law is better suited to consider individuals as abstracted from these particulars in public settings that can be assimilated into a formal, rational scheme (Teitelbaum, p. 789). There is a further problem. In "Bioethics and the Family," Carl Schneider points out that in the last few decades family law has increasingly eschewed moral discourse. The temptation is understandable: the problems within families are complex and often "reduce to unresolvable disputes over unverifiable beliefs" (Schneider, p. 822). But by avoiding the language of morality, family law has stripped itself of conceptual notions that might help resolve such bioethical perplexities as contract pregnancy and the family's role in decision making for incapacitated patients.

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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