SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah


The transformation of AID from a constitutional rights frame to a healthcare frame highlights the importance of developing a healthcare model related to dignity that isundergirded by social support, legal rights and healthcare access. However, the history of the abortion right cautions against narrowly identifying healthcare within the confines of the individual doctor-patient relationship because it risks subordinating the decisional autonomy of patients to the decision-making of their doctors. Taken together, these movements gesture toward situating rights within a healthcare framing that considers how social, political and economic systems and relationships come to bear upon decision-making. I conclude that while constitutional rights status is important for anchoring a minimum protection of the right of patient decisional autonomy, a healthcare-as-dignity frame brings with it the possibility of addressing underlying conditions that deprive individuals of meaningful choice in these contexts.