Forced Labor: A Thirteenth Amendment Defense of Abortion

57 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2015

Date Written: 1990


The Thirteenth Amendment provides a textual basis for a right to abortion. The Thirteenth Amendment is both libertarian and egalitarian, because the paradigmatic violation deprives its victims of both liberty and equality. Slavery compels some private individuals to serve others, and it does so as part of a larger societal pattern of imposing such servitude on a particular caste of persons. Compulsory pregnancy involves the same twofold injury. Since the amendment reaches far enough to forbid either of these injuries standing alone, a fortiori it forbids laws that inflict both of them at once.

Keywords: Thirteenth Amendment, abortion

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Koppelman, Andrew M., Forced Labor: A Thirteenth Amendment Defense of Abortion (1990). 84 Northwestern University Law Review 480 (1990), Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 15-46, Available at SSRN:

Andrew M. Koppelman (Contact Author)

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8431 (Phone)

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