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Law, Policy, and Reproductive Autonomy, Erin Nelson
Leah Seneviratne


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Many of today’s social environments in which women find themselves appear to uphold an ideal of individual liberty and unprecedented access to education. In the case of reproductive choice, women often have options to help facilitate their rights, but policies across jurisdictions are inconsistent. Many women face barriers to the meaningful exercise of choice. In Law, Policy, and Reproductive Autonomy,1 Erin Nelson examines differences in reproductive law and practice in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia in ways that highlight these differences. Her study encourages us to question whether advances in reproductive policy and technology are, for many, merely theoretical.

Nelson’s analysis of the level of reproductive autonomy permitted across these jurisdictions is extensive and details the history of regulation on reproduction, including benchmark case law and recent legislation. She argues in favour of greater recognition of the capacity for choice, improved access to health care, and a broader understanding of the context in which reproductive decisions are made. She is particularly engaging on the interests of the fetus, including a possible duty of care owed during pregnancy. Nelson concludes by considering the implications of various new reproductive technologies and the regulatory challenges to which they give rise. Th e book offers a valuable overview of the current field of reproductive case law and policy that will likely be of interest to lawyers, scholars, and practitioners in the many areas in which reproductive rights are implicated.