June 19, 2019 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Moot Court Room, Old College, The University of Edinburgh
South Bridge

with Dr Jack Thompson from University of Brighton

Talk Title: Partners, Foetuses and Abortions


In 1986, the first sentence of George Harris’ paper Fathers and Fetuses ([1986] 96(3) Ethics 594-603) read, “Conspicuously absent from most discussions of the abortion issue are considerations of third-party interests, especially those of the father.” This paper seeks to reintroduce a discussion of fathers and non-carrying female partners into the abortion debate. It sets out to consider the role, rights and responsibilities of these ‘non-carrying’ partners. In order to so, I will propose a number of examples to illuminate the moral considerations that may be relevant to the determination of a partner’s role in the decision-making process. I will argue that in some of these cases a prospective partner’s legitimate interest in controlling their reproductive autonomy is harmed by being excluded from decisions to or not to terminate. But this is not determinative of the need to create legal rights in partners. The questions for discussion then are: what rights to reproductive autonomy might a partner have; what factors might catalyse these rights; and, whether these are rights which are legally desirable?

About the Speaker

Jack is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Brighton. He joined the Brighton Business School from the University of Westminster where he had taught and completed his PhD in Moral Philosophy and Reproductive Medicine. He is currently the module leader of the LLB Law of Torts, Healthcare Law and Ethics, and Legal Research Project modules. He has recently had articles published on Rights Theory ([2018] 7(3) Laws 28), Legal Moralism ([2019] 8(1) Laws 6), and Gender Deception in Sexual Offences ([2019] Journal of Criminal Law doi: 10.1177/0022018319834373). He is editing a collection of essays with Claire-Michelle Smyth and Richard Lang entitled Contemporary Challenges to Human Rights Law due to be published in late 2019.

Respondent: TBC

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MI Lunch Seminar with Dr Jack Thompson