The Bad Mother: Stigma, Abortion and Surrogacy

Document Type


Publication Title

The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Journal Abbreviation

J.L. Med. & Ethics


Why do certain decisions about reproduction engender social support, other decisions social disapproval? Surrogacy and abortion represent two different facets of procreative liberty, the right to reproduce and the right to avoid reproducing, but these different experiences may carry similar stigmatic harm, for both disrupt traditional expectations of the pregnant woman. This article examines how stigma attached to abortion and surrogacy reveals similar patterns of gender stereotyping. It argues that evidence of stigma is relevant to determining whether laws regulating abortion or surrogacy are based on impermissible stereotyping. Stigma evidence is probative in determining whether gender stereotypes influenced legislative purpose and in assessing the degree of harm imposed by a regulation.

First Page


Last Page


Publication Date

Summer 2015


Special Issue: SYMPOSIUM: Intersections in Reproduction: Perspectives on Abortion and Assisted Reproductive Technologies