Virtual Library Research Hub detail page

Back to search results

Siegel, Neil S., and Reva B. Siegel. “Equality Arguments for Abortion Rights.” UCLA Law Review Discourse 160 (2013): 160–70.


This article supports government funding for abortion by criticizing the courts’ past reliance on gendered assumptions and proposes a modified sex equality argument in favor of abortion rights. It synthesizes the Equal Protection Clause with sex discrimination arguments to argue for the protection of abortion rights. Siegel and Siegel note that decisions about pregnancy and abortion are often justified on the basis of gendered stereotypes. Regulations on abortion reinforce the archaic idea that women are naturally under the dominion of their male partners. These assumptions about "natural order", or the presumed subordination of women, reinforce inequality. Similarly, the authors note that while the state relies on the narrative of “protecting potential life” to defend abortion restrictions, the state simultaneously limits material support for mothers after the child is born. The courts are therefore selectively relying on gendered stereotypes in order to justify their decisions to favor childbirth while restricting abortion funding. The authors thus introduce sex equality arguments that repudiate gendered stereotypes and guarantee women freedom from state-imposed gender roles. Combined with the Equal Protection Clause, this hybrid would require robust reproductive rights and access insofar as these are required for women’s full and equal participation in civil society.


Download file

About the Author 

Related Topics

Abortion funding bans   Economic justice   Legal case   Abortion   Health care   Pregnancy