Jennifer Roback Morse

The asymmetry of reproductive freedom.

 The feminist establishment is in an uproar over the appointment of Judge John Roberts to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O?Connor.  In their minds, the abortion license established by Roe v. Wade is sacrosanct. But I believe the very concept of reproductive freedom is dangerous illusion that has brought misery to millions of people.  The series of Court cases which created this illusion increased access to both contraception and abortion. These cases did indeed, allow people to change the probability of a live baby resulting from any sexual act. It would be a defensible intellectual position to claim that people are entitled to use new technologies to change these probabilities. But under feminist tutelage, the social norms and constitutional interpretation around sex and conception have morphed into a much stronger demand: We now believe that we are entitled to have sex without having a live baby result.

 But this is far less appealing than ?the right to choose.?  The various euphemisms such as ?reproductive self-determination,? and ?reproductive justice,? vastly overstate what government can provide. The government cannot assure anyone that they will achieve their reproductive goals. This so-called freedom is a negation: it is only the right to say ?no? to a baby.

 Changed Probabilities, not Absolute entitlements

 In the 1972 case, Eisenstadt v Baird, the Supreme Court began to exaggerate its capacities.  This case broadened the right of unmarried individuals to have access to information about contraceptives.  The Court stated:

 ?The marital couple an association of two individuals each with a separate intellectual and emotional makeup. If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right to be free from unwarranted government intrusions into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.?

Jennifer Roback Morse

Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love In A Hook-up World. She blogs at

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