Daniel J. Mumaw


This comment focuses upon a new area of child abuse prevention, that of the withholding of medical treatment from disabled newborns. Section one discusses the increased public awareness of the extent of this practice. Section two presents the initial government response to widespread publicity of the practice. Section three examines the Congressional response to this problem via the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984. Due to the widespread publicity of one particular case, In re Infant Doe, the portion of the Amendment concerning the withholding of medical treatment from disabled newborns is commonly referred to as the Infant Doe Amendment. The intent of Congress was to establish a national policy regarding the ethical standards to be considered, the person(s) to be the primary decisionmaker, and the laws to be applied. In conclusion, the comment examines whether the Infant Doe Amendment accomplishes the intent of Congress.