Never Having Loved at All

36 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2015 Last revised: 3 Jun 2016

See all articles by Sherry F. Colb

Sherry F. Colb

Cornell University - Law School

Date Written: June 1, 2016


Feminist and some other abortion rights advocates typically ground the right to abortion in bodily integrity, thus conceptualizing abortion as vindicating a right to disassociate oneself from an intruder. Although valid as a matter of logic, the bodily integrity argument is libertarian and seemingly selfish. But a fundamentally associative interest also grounds the abortion right. A woman who cannot raise a child but is legally required to bear one must undergo the psychic pain of forced separation from an infant whom she is biologically programmed to love. Human mothers, like other mammalian mothers, grieve the loss of their young, as illustrated by the sad plight of dairy cows. Accordingly, the abortion right may be best understood as protecting not only an interest in bodily separation, but an interest in avoiding loss, that is, an interest in “never having loved at all.”

Suggested Citation

Colb, Sherry F., Never Having Loved at All (June 1, 2016). Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 3, 2016, Available at SSRN: or

Sherry F. Colb (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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