In the introduction Hanson reports that he does not plan to challenge Engelhardt's "libertarian" bioethics in this paper. Instead, he attempts to challenge Engelhardt's theory from within, claiming that the theory, on its own terms, fails as a comprehensive ethical framework for "dealing with moral questions involving children." I prefer to challenge Engelhardt's "libertarian" premises, however.
The bulk of Hanson's paper then delivers a detailed critique of the "Engelhardtian concepts of ownership, indenture, and social personhood." This is largely successful, though Hanson does not recognize the existence of a libertarian theory that is not inconsistent. The correct libertarian theory is the plumbline libertarian theory explicated by Rothbard in Chapter 14 "Children and Rights" of The Ethics of Liberty.
The fundamentals of the Rothbardian libertarian natural-rights rational ethic are as follows: parents are the "trustee-owners" of a child, a child cannot be aggressed against because the child is a "potential" self-owner, and a child assumes "full self-ownership rights" (becomes an actual self-owner) when the child leaves home and provides herself food, clothing, and shelter.
Hanson then evaluates Engelhardt's intervention principle, which describes "when and how one may intervene on behalf of a ward and against the wishes of the ward's guardian." Hanson rightly skewers Engelhardt's theory. However, no mention is made of the just principle, which is the libertarian principle of non-intervention.
Finally, Hanson concludes by asserting that Engelhardt's "theory cannot be applied usefully to cases involving children." This is a reasonable statement. The true libertarian theory (the Rothbardian rational natural-rights ethic), however, though ignored in the text, can be utilized successfully in situations involving complex pediatric interactions.