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Reconceiving pregnancy: Expressive choice and legal reasoning

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • The author discusses the issue of medical intervention in pregnancy, and suggests that what is missing from the present discourse on pregnancy and the law is a theoretical framework for choice or decision-making in pregnancy. It is suggested that the inability to formulate an adequate mode of reasoning about the problem of medical intervention in pregnancy has to do with the way in which decision-making in pregnancy is characterized. The author provides an overview of contributions made to the legal academic literature by feminist theorists of varying persuasions and notes that the debate, as framed by feminist writing on the issue, is largely about choices, rather than choice. The author outlines the underpinnings of a new approach to the question of choice in pregnancy, based on an expressive theory of choice, and considers the contribution that such a theory might make to the complex legal and ethical dilemmas that can arise when a pregnant woman refuses medical treatment proposed for the benefit of the fetus.

  • Date created
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
  • License
    © 2004 E. Nelson et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Nelson, E. (2004). Reconceiving pregnancy: Expressive choice and legal reasoning. McGill Law Journal, 49(3), 593-634. Retrieved from
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