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In my comment on Professor Mnookin's paper I intend to discuss what ought and ought not to be the function of law in supervening parental wishes about medical care for their newborn child. I will reach conclusions and make recommendations similar to Professor Mnookin's, but I arrive at them by a somewhat different route. I am not qualified to and I will not discuss the political observations and assessments that he makes.

Law, in a democratic society, is meant not to confuse, but to clarify for each of us in ordinary language the extent to which the state intends to restrict our freedom to decide. As parents, we decide what medical care to give our newborn child; as doctors, we decide what care to provide or even to impose without regard to parental wishes. The words of a statute should provide the basis upon which ordinary citizens can know the extent to which they are free to decide. Legislatures ought not make their statutory answers obscure.

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