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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

'You Can't Always Get What You Want: A Gewirthian Model Of Rational Autonomy In Abortion' Event

16:00 - 17:00
25 November 2015
Room 2007 Building 4 (Law) Highfield Campus University of Southampton

For more information regarding this event, please email Caroline Jones at .

Event details

This seminar is part of the HEAL Seminar Series


The law regulating the availability of abortion is problematic both legally and morally. It is dogmatic in its requirements of women and doctors and ignorant of would-be fathers. Practically, its usage is liberal - with s1(1)(a) Abortion Act 1967 treated as a ‘catch all’ ground - it allows abortion on demand. Yet this is not reflected in the ‘law’. Against this outdated legislation I propose a model of autonomy which seeks to tether our moral concerns with a new legal approach to abortion. I do so by maintaining that a legal conception of autonomy is derivable from the categorical imperative resulting from Gewirth’s argument to the Principle of Generic Consistency: Act in accordance with the generic rights of your recipients as well as of yourself. This model of Gewirthian Rational Autonomy, I suggest, provides a guide for both public and private notions of autonomy and how our autonomous interests can be balanced across social structures in order to legitimately empower choice. I claim, ultimately, that relevant rights in the context of abortion are derivable from this model.

Speaker information

Jack Clayton Thompson,University of Westminster,Lecturer in Law

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