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Abstract

This talk explores the ethics and epistemology of unwanted pregnancy and abortion. I argue that the long-standing abortion debate relies upon an understanding of pregnancy and abortion that wrongs the pregnant person as a knower and as a moral agent.

First, drawing on the work of other scholars, I show that pregnancy is a form of labour and that the denial of abortion amounts to forced labour. I argue that the failure of the standard discourse to characterise pregnancy in this way produces a kind of epistemic injustice which affects those who become pregnant.

Second, according to UK law, an abortion is lawful only if two doctors deem the pregnancy to be a risk to the person's mental or physical health. Abortion is therefore granted according to the views of doctors and a risk metric determined by law. I argue that doctors and legislators should defer to the moral judgement of the pregnant person in relation to abortion, especially given my contention that pregnancy is a form of labour.

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