The Room Where It Happens: The Autonomy of the Hospital Ethics Committees Post-Dobbs

Since the issuance of the Dobbs decision, there’s been significant discussion by lawyers, philosophers, healthcare providers and political leaders. The ruling has created uncertainty and confusion for those working in the healthcare space, and as lawyers, we are now being asked to advise our clients on myriad issues ranging from criminal culpability to the tax consequences of providing or paying for reproductive care. At the provider level, the questions we’re being asked are founded on the principle of autonomy. How can I provide appropriate care for my patient? Does my patient have the autonomy to make reproductive healthcare decisions? Is my autonomy as a provider different than it was two weeks ago?

The idea of autonomy is at heart of bioethics and is a foundational principle in clinical ethics and decision-making. And autonomy in reproductive medicine – that of the patient and that of the provider to recommend care for that patient – is now unclear in many states. This also applies to the

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