Parental rights, child welfare, and public health: the case of PKU screening.

Ruth R Faden, N. A. Holtzman, A. J. Chwalow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The right of parents to refuse consent for phenylketonuria (PKU) screening is discussed in terms of moral justifications. The authors take the position that the primary function of a parental consent requirement is to protect children's welfare. In the case of PKU screening, the intervention poses minimal risk of harm while refusal of screening poses a significant risk to the child. Therefore, the principle of preventing harm overrides the parental right to refuse PKU screening.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1396-1400
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1982
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this