Rethinking Progenitive Conflict: Why Reproductive Autonomy Matters

Posted: 8 Sep 2009

See all articles by Nicolette M. Priaulx

Nicolette M. Priaulx

Cardiff University; Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School

Date Written: September 7, 2009


Why is reproductive autonomy so valuable What is promoted through a facilitation of reproductive desires, and what is undermined through their denial Given the repercussions for individuals, are decisions to avoid reproduction more worthy of respect than decisions to reproduce‘ Drawing upon psychological and feminist theory to explore the notion of reproductive autonomy, central to my analysis is that its value lies in its instrumentality in fostering basic human needs and one’s sense of self. As I claim, while all basic reproductive desires are central to one’s sense of self, it is only in the most extreme circumstances that one can determine between competing desires. Exploring the value of reproductive autonomy by reference to human needs, I suggest, not only underpins the importance of that value, but also fleshes out ideas as to why protection of one’s physical integrity in the reproductive realm constitutes such an extreme situation, and is particularly commanding of our respect. As this paper argues, such an account is not only key to exploring important aspects of the nature and limits of the concept of reproductive autonomy, but also provides us with a promising and honest framework for addressing cases like Evans v. Amicus Healthcare Ltd and Others (2004), those involving third-party challenges to abortion decision-making, and perhaps most significantly of all, for reconciling these difficult cases with our equal respect for all reproductive desires, whether to reproduce or to avoid reproduction.

Keywords: Reproductive rights, reproductive autonomy, law, value, feminist theory, Evans v. UK 2006

JEL Classification: I10, I18, K10, K19, K30

Suggested Citation

Priaulx, Nicolette M., Rethinking Progenitive Conflict: Why Reproductive Autonomy Matters (September 7, 2009). Available at SSRN:

Nicolette M. Priaulx (Contact Author)

Cardiff University ( email )

PO Box 427
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom

Cardiff University - Cardiff Law School ( email )

PO Box 427
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom

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