Unwanted Pregnancy, Abortion, and Maternal Authority: A Prochoice Theological Argument
This essay offers a theological answer to the question: How should we speak of a pregnant woman’s identity such that she is recognizable as uniquely entitled to make the gestational choice to end fetal life? Some prochoice thinkers carve out ethical space for a pregnant woman to reject a fetus with which she has not yet self-consciously entered into a mothering relationship. In contrast, the author argues that pregnancy automatically places serious mothering responsibilities on a woman and that ending a life in utero is a unique decision that a gestating mother should have the primary moral authority to make. Since discourses of mothering in Christianized cultures are arguably influenced by the Virgin Mary, this essay offers a reading of the Annunciation in Luke’s gospel and discusses one medieval mystic’s transgressive practices of imitatio Mariae as resources for Christian women’s reproductive choice about unwanted pregnancy today.
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