The Harm Paradox : Tort Law and the Unwanted Child in an Era of Choice book cover
1st Edition

The Harm Paradox
Tort Law and the Unwanted Child in an Era of Choice

ISBN 9781844721085
Published December 31, 2006 by Routledge-Cavendish
224 Pages

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Book Description

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.

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

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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.


"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)