Homologizing Pregnancy and Motherhood: A Consideration of Abortion

In this essay I reconsider abortion in order to bridge what initially seem to be two opposing frameworks: first, the conception of abortion as an issue of women’s bodily integrity and liberty, and second, the acknowledgement of the existence and meaning of intrauterine life. The abortion choice is indeed deeply and necessarily tied to women’s bodily integrity. I will discuss how taking away women’s ability to control their decision not to become mothers can be severely damaging to their very sense of self, for this denial of decisionmaking divides women from their wombs and uses their wombs for a purpose unrelated to women’s own aspirations. By interfering in unique ways with women’s bodily integrity in the guise of regulation of procreative decisionmaking, law both facilitates and justifies that violation of bodily integrity. Because bodily integrity is necessary for the formation of selfhood, it is essential that law recognize women’s subjectivity in its construction of women’s procreative lives. The legal regulation of procreation, in this sense, defines women’s very boundaries.