Abortion, Marriage and Cognate Problems

American Journal of Jurisprudence (July 2018)

18 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2019

See all articles by Cecile Laborde

Cecile Laborde

Nuffield College, Oxford University

Date Written: April 6, 2017


In Liberalism with Excellence, Matthew Kramer argues that liberal neutrality cannot adjudicate issues such as abortion, and he intimates that this problem extends to ‘cognate problems’ such as euthanasia, animal rights and (more unexpectedly) same-sex marriage. In this Article, I examine the sense in which marriage is a cognate problem to abortion. I suggest that liberal neutrality is indeterminate, not only about the identification of rights-bearing natural persons, but also about the identification of justice-apt social practices. I argue that the resolution of many political-moral controversies depend on contested social ontologies – claims about the nature and moral status of the particular groups and relationships that individuals form – and I illustrate this claim by reference to the rights of religious association.

Keywords: Liberal Neutrality, Abortion, Marriage, Religious Associations

JEL Classification: K

Suggested Citation

Laborde, Cecile, Abortion, Marriage and Cognate Problems (April 6, 2017). American Journal of Jurisprudence (July 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3433377 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3433377

Cecile Laborde (Contact Author)

Nuffield College, Oxford University ( email )

1 New Road
Oxford, OX1 1NF
United Kingdom

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