Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Cheryl Hanna on Beechman v. Leahy and "Reproducing Women's Rights"
Cheryl Hanna (Vermont Law School) has posted Beechman v. Leahy and the Doctrine of Hypocrisy: A Response to Nadine Strossen's Reproducing Women's Rights: All Over Again on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In this essay, Professor Hanna discusses Beecham v. Leahy, the Vermont case which legalized abortion prior to Roe v. Wade. She argues one way to reframe the reproductive rights debate is to examine more deeply the law's specific treatment of women in the regulation of abortion. If what we really care about is the well-being of women, as those on both sides of this debate claim, then allowing women to make their own decisions within this context is the most crucial aspect to women's full rights of citizenship. We must acknowledge, however, that some women are harmed within this context and have a right to access legal remedies. For example, restraining orders against intimate partners who sabotage birth control or coerce them into terminating a pregnancy, or the ability to sue doctors who engage in malpractice. And, most important, we must improve the material conditions of women's lives as to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to ensure that no woman has to make the trade-off between motherhood and education, a career, or basic survival. These two strategies, both promoting autonomy and preventing victimization, can and must be equally pursued as we reproduce women's rights.