restricted access The Best Interest Standard: Same Name but Different Roles in Pediatric Bioethics and Child Rights Frameworks


This article explores the intersection of pediatric bioethics and child rights by examining the best interest standard as it operates within the pediatric bioethics framework in the United States and the child rights framework based on the UN 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). While the "best interest of the child" standard is central to both pediatric bioethics and the child rights community, it operates only as a guidance principle, and not as an intervention principle, in decision-making within U.S. pediatric bioethics, whereas it operates as both a guidance and intervention principle in the child rights community. The differences in how the best interest standard is operationalized lead to different roles for the family, the state, and the minor in decision-making processes and outcomes. We examine the recent case of Charlie Gard to illustrate some of these differences.