Bodies, Rights and Abortion
McLachlan, Hugh V.
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1997 Jun; 23(3): 176-180.
The issue of abortion is discussed with reference to the claim that people have a right of control over their own bodies. Do people "own" their own bodies? If so, what would be entailed? These questions are discussed in commonsense terms and also in relation to the jurisprudence of Hohfeld, Honore, Munzer and Waldron. It is argued that whether or not women are morally and/or should be legally entitled to have abortions, such entitlements cannot be derived from a general moral entitlement to do what we will with our own bodies since there is no such entitlement. Whether or not we "own" them, we can have rights duties, liabilities, restrictions and disadvantages as well as rights concerning our own bodies.