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A property model of pregnancy

Ford, M. (2005) A property model of pregnancy. International Journal of Law in Context, 1 (3). pp. 261-293. ISSN 1744-5523

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Abstract

This paper elaborates what the author considers to be a promising alternative to the orthodox 'conflict model' of pregnancy: a model of adjudication based on an understanding of pregnancy as a property relationship. The conflict model, which purports to balance the rights and interests of the pregnant woman against those of the foetus, is now widely acknowledged to be unsatisfactory. This paper argues for the complete abandonment of the conflict model in all its guises, and the adoption of a new 'property model' of pregnancy. The property model, it is argued, has several distinct advantages over traditional or orthodox ways of debating and adjudicating pregnancy: it explains and justifies features which currently appear as inconsistencies or contradictions in the current law, and provides possible solutions to contested issues such as surrogacy, the 'rights' of fathers in decision-making about pregnancy, and the role of the state in setting limits on abortion.