ProChoiceLife: Asking Who Protects Life and How and Why It Matters in Law and Politics

Reva Siegel, Yale Law School


Government can protect new life in many ways. It can restrict a woman's access to abortion, help a woman avoid an unwanted pregnancy, or help a pregnant woman bear a healthy child.
If we expand the frame and analyze restrictions on abortion as one of many ways government can protect new life, we observe facts that escape notice when we debate abortion in isolation. Jurisdictions that support abortion rights may protect new life in ways that jurisdictions that restrict abortion rights will not. One jurisdiction may protect new life by means that respect women's autonomy, while another protects new life by means that restrict women's autonomy.