Document Type


Publication Date



Reproductive rights


Law and Gender


This Article argues that an analysis of reproductive rights in the context of future generations yields three insights. First, potential people (who may or may not come into being) do not-by any prevailing approach to morality-have a right to be created by us. They may therefore be ethically "prevented" from coming into existence with what I call the "Offspring Selection Interest" ("OSI"). Second, the OSI is often conflated with the distinct reproductive rights interest in protecting one's body against unwanted intrusion, the "Bodily Integrity Interest" ("BII"), with resulting confusion for reproductive rights discourse. And third, once we distinguish the OSI from the BII, we find a surprising amount of agreement, even among present-day abortion opponents, with the premise of abortion rights: that the BII is both weighty and directly implicated in the abortion decision.

To find evidence of consensus regarding the OSI, this Article turns to western religious traditions as well as to modern legal rules. To find consensus on the BII, this Article relies on accounts of abortion that animate the pro-choice and pro-life communities within the United States. The goal of the Article is largely descriptive rather than normative: it aims to identify two interests that underlie modern reproductive rights and to demonstrate that both interests are widely accepted by groups that otherwise appear to fall on opposite ends of the reproductive rights spectrum.

Publication Citation

George Washington Law Review, vol. 77, no. 5/6 (September 2009)