The Harm Paradox: Tort Law and the Unwanted Child in an Era of Choice, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Harm Paradox

Tort Law and the Unwanted Child in an Era of Choice, 1st Edition

By Nicolette Priaulx


224 pages

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pub: 2007-01-18
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Offering the first comprehensive theoretical engagement with actions for wrongful conception and birth, The Harm Paradox provides readers with an insightful critique into the concepts of choice, responsibility and personhood.

Raising fundamental questions relating to birth, abortion, family planning and disability, Priaulx challenges the law’s response that enforced parenthood is a harmless outcome and examines the concept of autonomy, gender and women’s reproductive freedom.

It explores a wealth of questions, including:

  • Can a healthy child resulting from negligence in family planning procedures constitute ‘harm’ sounding in damages, when so many see its birth as a blessing?
  • Can a pregnancy constitute an ‘injury’ when many women choose that very event?
  • Are parents really harmed, when they choose to keep their much loved but ‘unwanted child’?
  • Why don’t women seek an abortion if the consequences of pregnancy are seen as harmful?

An exciting and original contribution to the fields of medical law and ethics, tort law and feminist jurisprudence, this is an excellent resource for both students and practitioners.


"The Harm Paradox is a trenchant and powerful review of the unwanted pregnancy - and, indeed, of pregnancy - as seen by a thoughtful and remarkably fair, though by no means impartial, feminist theorist." - J. K. Mason, Medical Law Review, vol. 15 no. 3 (November 2007)

"Priaulx's analysis is thorough, well written and detailed. Readers who are interested in the intersection of torts, society, reproduction and feminism, will find the book a very valuable contribution to the subject" - Tsachi Keren-Paz, Feminist Legal Studies, Vol 16, No.2 (2008)

Table of Contents

The Beginning of the Decline. Injured Bodies. Health, Disability and Harm. The Harm Paradox. Constructions of the Reasonable Woman. Reproductive Choice, Reproductive Reality. The Moral Domain of Autonomy

About the Author

Nicolette Priaulx is a lecturer in law at Keele University. Her research interests include tort law, medical law and feminist legal studies. She has published work on the reproductive torts in a series of journals and edited collections including Studies in Law, Politics & Society.

About the Series

Biomedical Law and Ethics Library

Scientific and clinical advances, social and political developments and the impact of healthcare on our lives raise profound ethical and legal questions. Medical law and ethics have become central to our understanding of these problems, and are important tools for the analysis and resolution of problems – real or imagined.

In this series, scholars at the forefront of biomedical law and ethics will contribute to the debates in this area, with accessible, thought-provoking, and sometimes controversial ideas. Each book in the series will develop an independent hypothesis and argue cogently for a particular position. One of the major contributions of this series is the extent to which both law and ethics are utilised in the content of the books, and the shape of the series itself.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Health
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Abortion & Birth Control