DOI link for Response
The emergence of healthcare law as a corrective to the idea of ‘doctor knows best’ is charted by Neal as a key juncture in this pre-eminence of autonomy in the field. In response to concerns about the problematic absence of the recognition of vulnerability in healthcare law and bioethics, a number of scholars have been utilising M. A. Fineman’s vulnerability theory to expose the consequences of the centrality of autonomy and the liberal legal subject, as Neal outlines. The discussion of the universal/particular debate demonstrates the difficulties that theorists have encountered when seeking to utilise the insights from vulnerability theory. The responsive state is a central strand of Fineman’s vulnerability theory. In many ways, this concept of the state holds much of the generative and creative potential of a shift to recognising vulnerability in healthcare law. Autonomy has tended to attract the most criticism from vulnerability scholars, as well as from feminist legal theorists more broadly.