Is the fetus a person? : a comparison of policies across the fifty states

Schroedel, Jean Reith

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  • Creator Jean Reith Schroedel
  • Format Books
  • Publication Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 2000.
  • Physical Details
    • xv, 223 pages : maps ; 25 cm
  • ISBNs 9780801437076, 0801437075
  • OCLC ocm43526817


  • "Is the Fetus a Person? analyzes fetal personhood by examining all of the major areas of the law that could implicitly or explicitly award the fetus such status. Jean Reith Schroedel presents a comprehensive history of fetal protection ideas and policies in America, considering the moral and legal underpinnings of existing laws while paying particular attention to the influence of gender and power relations on their formation. As much a model for future research as a study of the status of the fetus, this book offers an examination of one of the most divisive and complex issues of American life."--BOOK JACKET.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 191-210) and indexes.


  • Pt. I. Background and Overview. 1. Introduction. Framing the Issue of Fetal Personhood. The Debate over Fetal Personhood. Legal Status of the Fetus. The Research Design. Organization of the Book. 2. Fetal Personhood through the Centuries. The Moral and Legal Dimensions of Fetal Status. The Early Moral Discourse. The Christian Church's Opposition to Abortion. The Impact of Moral Beliefs on Legal Developments. Fetal Status in Antebellum America. Changes in Nineteenth-Century Legal Doctrine. The Movement to Criminalize Abortion. Changes in the Legal Status of the Fetus in Civil Cases. The Criminalization of Third-Party Fetal Killing. The Movement to Reform Abortion Laws. Expansion of Fetal Rights. Applying the Adversarial Lens to the Other Fetal Policy Areas. The Problem of Substance Abuse by Pregnant Women -- Pt. II. Interpreting the Patterns. 3. Abortion Policymaking in the States. The Policy Framework. Morality Policy as Social Regulation and the Redistribution of Values. Applying the Morality Policy Framework to Fetal Policies. Abortion Policymaking. State Laws Banning Abortion. The Shift toward Enacting Limited Abortion Bans. Overall Restrictiveness of Abortion Bans. Post-Roe Restrictions on Abortion. Restrictions on Adult Women. Restrictions on Minors. Measuring the Overall Restrictiveness of Abortion Laws. 4. Prenatal Drug Exposure and Third-Party Fetal Killings. One-Sided Morality Policymaking and Fetal Status. Policy Responses to Substance Abuse by Pregnant Women. Legislative Responses to the Problem of Prenatal Drug Exposure. Criminal Prosecution of Pregnant Addicts. Policy Responses to Third-Party Fetal Assaults and Killings. Legislative Responses to Third-Party Fetal Assaults and Killings. Third-Party Fetal Killing Statutes. Judicial Responses to Third-Party Fetal Killings. 5. Explaining Fetal Policies across the States. Searching for the Common Thread in Fetal Policies. Public Opinion and State Abortion Policies. Public Opinion and State Policies toward Prenatal Drug Exposure. Public Opinion and Policies toward Third-Party Fetal Killing. Summing Up the Impact of Public Opinion. Assessing the Fetal Rights and Women's Rights Narratives. Modeling Abortion Policymaking in the States. 6. Where Do We Go from Here? Federalism and Fetal Personhood. The States'-Rights Approach to Fetal Personhood. New Assaults on Abortion Rights. New Efforts to Expand Fetal Rights/Personhood. Enormous Disparities in Legal Status of the Fetus. The Link between Fetal Rights and the Antiabortion Movement. An Opportunity to Find Common Ground
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