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That's one heck of an 'unruly horse': Riding roughshod over autonomy in wrongful conception

Priaulx, Nicolette Michelle ORCID: 2004. That's one heck of an 'unruly horse': Riding roughshod over autonomy in wrongful conception. Feminist Legal Studies 12 (3) , pp. 317-331. 10.1007/s10691-004-4989-y

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The case of Rees v. Darlington Memorial Hospital N.H.S. Trustarises from a lower court backlash against the a prior decision of the British House of Lords in McFarlane v. Tayside Health Board. McFarlane holding that healthy children brought about by negligence in family planning procedures are blessings, and parents should therefore be denied the costs of child maintenance. But, would the House agree with the Court of Appeal in Reesthat the factual variation in that case of a disabled parent with a healthy child should form an exception? In tracing the appeal of Reesto the House of Lords, this note explores their Lordships’ refusal in principle to depart from McFarlane, as well as the invocation of an autonomy-based approach to address the harm of unsolicited parenthood. In reflecting on the extent to which the wrongful conception action can be said to reinforce the value of reproductive autonomy, this note argues, nevertheless, that Reesillustrates in another way a significant departure from McFarlane, but that this is still a turn in the wrong direction. Far from resonating with women’s diverse experiences of reproduction, the law of negligence continues to illustrate little respect for reproductive choice. Therefore, this note calls for a deeper understanding of autonomy, one that recognises and embraces the diversity of individuals’ reproductive lives.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: child maintenance damages; conventional award; disability; harm; health; reproductive autonomy; wrongful conception
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0966-3622
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 09:08

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