Abortion Feminism Philosophy Women's health

Responding to Radical Autonomy Claims

Erika Bachiochi has a wonderful new post on the Public Discourse Blog entitled 40 Years Later: How to Undo the Autonomy Argument for Abortion Rights. In the post, she responds to the autonomy argument made famous by Judith Jarvis Thomason in A Defense of Abortion.

She argues, like UFL member Frank Beckwith who she quotes, that the act of conceiving a child creates unique responsibilities that include continuing the pregnancy through birth. She notes that while American law does not impose a legal requirement that every citizen act as a Good Samaritan to those in danger, it does require that those who are responsbile for creating the danger must act to rescue the victim. “[P]arents share an affirmative legal duty toward their unborn child who, in his vulnerability, is utterly dependent upon their help and assistance—even more so than their born child, for whom other competent adults could care.”

The length of the article makes it ideal for classroom use, and I recommend it highly.

Teresa Collett

Teresa Stanton Collett is a professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she teaches bioethics, property law, and constitutional law. A nationally prominent speaker and scholar, she is active in attempts to rebuild the Culture of Life and protect the institutions of marriage and family. She often represents groups of state legislators, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association in appellate case related to medical-legal matters. She represented the governors of Minnesota and North Dakota before the U.S. Supreme Court as amici curiae regarding the effectiveness of those states’ parental involvement laws. She has served as special attorney general for Oklahoma and Kansas related to legislation designed to protect the well-being of minors and unborn children. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittees on the Constitution, as well as numerous legislative committees in the states.