What are the Grounds for the Legality of Abortion? A 13th Amendment Argument

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This article mounts a general critique of the public/private dichotomy and its gender-subordinating implications as it is applied in the law. It then evaluates privacy as a ground for gender rights by looking at the role that privacy jurisprudence has played in abortion jurisprudence. Next, the article contends that the problem is not with the public/private dichotomy alone, but with the preservation of the individual (rather than the gender) as the location of rights and relegation of gender-based rights to a sphere where they are both considered less important and pliable. These inspirations for both the privacy and liberty/autonomy frameworks serve to maintain gender subordination, even when they appear to be employed for women’s benefit, an analysis of abortion policy demonstrates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-550
Number of pages24
JournalCardozo Journal of Law and Gender
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • gender
  • law
  • abortion
  • privacy
  • involuntary servitude

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