• The Right to Reproduce
    In Wendy A. Rogers, Catherine Mills & Jackie Leach Scully (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Feminist Bioethics. forthcoming.
    The reproductive rights of women have been a central topic in feminist bioethics. The focus has been predominantly on the right not to reproduce, and so not to be subject to pronatalist social forces that make motherhood compulsory for women. That is the case despite many women and other members of marginalized groups experiencing anti-natalism, or in other words, social pressure to avoid biological reproduction. For these groups, the right to reproduce is as important, if not more important, th…Read more
  •  5
    A peer commentary on an AJOB article by Kyle Fritz called "Unjustified Asymmetry: Positive Claims of Conscience and Heartbeat Bills."
  •  3
    Choice in Fertility Preservation in Girls and Adolescent Women with Cancer
    with Jeff Nisker and Françoise Baylis
    Cancer 107 (S7): 1686-1689. 2006.
    With the cure rate for many pediatric malignancies now between 70% and 90%, infertility becomes an increasingly important issue. Strategies for preserving fertility in girls and adolescent women occur in two distinct phases. The first phase includes oophorectomy and cryopreservation of ovarian cortex slices or individual oocytes; ultrasound-guided needle aspiration of oocytes, with or without in vitro maturation, followed by cryopreservation; and ovarian autografting to a distant site. The secon…Read more
  •  1
    Review of Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics by Onora O'Neill (review)
    American Journal of Medical Genetics 121 (1): 85-87. 2003.
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    My Relational Autonomy and My Relationship with Susan Sherwin
    International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 13 (2): 9-11. 2020.
    I want to get both personal and philosophical in this piece. I want to reflect on how my relationship with Sue Sherwin has fostered my own relational autonomy. At the same time, I want to discuss what theories of relational autonomy, like Sue's, add to the bioethics literature on autonomy. With this second objective, I hope to begin clearing up some confusion that I see in this literature about the nature of relational autonomy.Sue was my PhD supervisor, but more than that, she has been my mento…Read more
  •  4
    Parental Licensing and Discrimination
    In Anca Gheaus, Jurgen De Wispelaere & G. Calder (eds.), Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy of Childhood and Children, . pp. 202-212. 2018.
    Philosophical theories about parental licensing tend to pay insufficient attention to forms of discrimination that may be inherent in, or result from, a system of parental licensing. By situating these theories in relation to the status quo on parental licensing, we aim to show how many of them reinforce what philosophers have called “biologism”: the privileging of families formed through biological reproduction over families formed in other ways. Much of our discussion focuses on biologism, alt…Read more
  •  8
    Feminist Approaches to Moral Luck
    with Jody Tomchishen
    In R. Hartmann, Hartmann R. ian M. Church, Ian M. Church & Robert Hartmann (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck, . pp. 426-35. 2019.
    To a large extent, what we do and the circumstances we find ourselves in are beyond our control. Yet this fact presents a problem for the common view that we can be held responsible only for what we have direct control over. If we have control over very little, if anything at all, then to what extent can we be held responsible? A typical response by feminist philosophers is to accept the absence of control—or in other words, the presence of luck—but to insist that responsibility remains often e…Read more
  •  92
    This article aims to lay out the ‘for money’ and ‘for dignity’ arguments that feminist ethicists have given about the reproductive labour women perform in providing oocytes or in getting pregnant for others. Feminist arguments about the morality of these two practices overlap significantly because, from a feminist perspective, the morally relevant facts about them are quite similar. Still, there are dissimilarities, stemming from the obvious fact that one practice involves giving up oocytes whil…Read more
  •  3
    The central concerns of Hutchison’s paper are the under-representation and unequal pay of women in surgery and the role that subtle gender biases play in explaining these phenomena. My comments focus on how well executed and important this work is and also why we need more of it to fully understand the gravity of the situation for women in surgery and how it compares with similar situations for women in other fields.
  •  48
    Some accounts of the fiduciary relationship place trust and autonomy at odds with one another, so that trusting a fiduciary to act on one’s behalf reduces one’s ability to be autonomous. In this chapter, we critique this view of the fiduciary relationship (particularly bilateral instances of this relationship) using contemporary work on autonomy and ‘relational autonomy’. Theories of relational autonomy emphasize the role that interpersonal trust and social relationships play in supporting or ha…Read more
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    Conscience in Reproductive Health Care responds to the growing worldwide trend of health care professionals conscientiously refusing to provide abortions and similar reproductive health services in countries where these services are legal and professionally accepted. Carolyn McLeod argues that conscientious objectors in health care should prioritize the interests of patients in receiving care over their own interest in acting on their conscience. She defends this "prioritizing approach" to consc…Read more
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    Does Reproductive Justice Demand Insurance Coverage for IVF? Reflections on the Work of Anne Donchin
    International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (2): 133-143. 2017.
    This paper comes out of a panel honoring the work of Anne Donchin (1940-2014), which took place at the 2016 Congress of the International Network on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (FAB) in Edinburgh. My general aim is to highlight the contributions Anne made to feminist bioethics, and to feminist reproductive ethics in particular. My more specific aim, however, is to have a kind of conversation with Anne, through her work, about whether reproductive justice could demand insurance coverage for …Read more
  •  48
    Infertility and Moral Luck: The Politics of Women Blaming Themselves for Infertility
    International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 1 (1): 126-144. 2008.
    Infertility can be an agonizing experience, especially for women. And, much of the agony has to do with luck: with how unlucky one is in being infertile, and in how much luck is involved in determining whether one can weather the storm of infertility and perhaps have a child in the end. We argue that bad luck associated with being infertile is often bad moral luck for women. The infertile woman often blames herself or is blamed by others for what is happening to her, even when she cannot control…Read more
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    A Review of Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics, by Onora O'Neill (review)
    American Journal of Medical Genetics 121 (1): 85-87. 2003.
  •  49
    A Hague Convention on Contract Pregnancy : Avoiding Ethical Inconsistencies with the Convention on Adoption
    International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 7 (2): 219-235. 2014.
    The Hague Conference on Private International Law is currently considering the development of a Hague Convention on international contract pregnancy. Recently, the Permanent Bureau of the conference published A Preliminary Report on the Issues Arising from International Surrogacy Arrangements . There, it acknowledges that overlap may exist in the proper regulation of international adoption and international contract pregnancy . The report states that “some of the techniques employed by the 1993 …Read more
  •  846
    Taking a Feminist Relational Perspective on Conscience
    In Jocelyn Downie & Jennifer Lewellyn (eds.), Being Relational: Reflections on Relational Theory and Health Law and Policy, University of British Columbia Press. pp. 161-181. 2011.
    One understanding of conscience dominates bioethical discussion about conscience. On this view, to have a conscience is to be compelled to act in accordance with one’s own moral values for the sake of one’s “integrity,” where integrity is understood as inner or psychological unity. Conscience is deemed valuable because it promotes this quality. In this paper, I describe the dominant view, attempt to show that it is flawed, and sketch a positive alternative to it. In my opinion, conscience often …Read more
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    A Review of Dilemmas of Trust, by Trudy Govier (review)
    with Stephen Burns
    The Dalhousie Review 79 (1): 130-132. 1999.
  •  50
    Our Attitude Towards the Motivation of Those We Trust
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 28 (3): 465-479. 2000.
  •  367
    The feminist literature against the commodification of embryos in human embryo research includes an argument to the effect that embryos are “intimately connected” to persons, or morally inalienable from them. We explore why embryos might be inalienable to persons and why feminists might find this view appealing. But, ultimately, as feminists, we reject this view because it is inconsistent with full respect for women's reproductive autonomy and with a feminist conception of persons as relational,…Read more
  •  86
    Some stem cell researchers believe that it is easier to derive human embryonic stem cells from fresh rather than frozen embryos and they have had in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinicians invite their infertility patients to donate their fresh embryos for research use. These embryos include those that are deemed 'suitable for transfer' (i.e. to the woman's uterus) and those deemed unsuitable in this regard. This paper focuses on fresh embryos deemed suitable for transfer - hereafter 'fresh embryos…Read more
  •  2261
    The process of adopting a child is “not for the faint of heart.” This is what we were told the first time we, as a couple, began this process. Part of the challenge lies in fulfilling the licensing requirements for adoption, which, beyond the usual home study, can include mandatory participation in parenting classes. The question naturally arises for many people who are subjected to these requirements whether they are morally justified. We tackle this question in this paper. In our view, while s…Read more
  •  37
    The 'Healthy' Embryo: Social, Biomedical, Legal and Philosophical Perspectives (edited book)
    with Jeff Nisker, Françoise Baylis, Isabel Karpin, and Roxanne Mykitiuk
    Cambridge University Press. 2010.
    Public attention on embryo research has never been greater. Modern reproductive medicine technology and the use of embryos to generate stem cells ensure that this will continue to be a topic of debate and research across many disciplines. This multidisciplinary book explores the concept of a 'healthy' embryo, its implications on the health of children and adults, and how perceptions of what constitutes child and adult health influence the concept of embryo 'health'. The concept of human embryo h…Read more
  •  32
    Conscientious Autonomy: What Patients Do vs. What Is Done to Them (review)
    Hastings Center Report 35 (5): 5. 2005.
    Letter to editor of the Hastings Center Report on R. Kukla’s “Conscientious Autonomy: Displacing Decisions in Health Care” (HCR 35(2), 2005: 34-44).
  •  36
    Currently, the preferred accommodation for conscientious objection to abortion in medicine is to allow the objector to refuse to accede to the patient’s request so long as the objector refers the patient to a physician who performs abortions. The referral part of this arrangement is controversial, however. Pro-life advocates claim that referrals make objectors complicit in the performance of acts that they, the objectors, find morally offensive. I argue that the referral requirement is justifiab…Read more
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    Integrity and Self-Protection
    Journal of Social Philosophy 35 (2). 2004.
    Self-protection seems to be negatively correlated with integrity on the standard conception of that virtue. To be self-protective is to lose some of our integrity. In this paper, I pursue the somewhat unlikely claim that a certain amount of self-protection is consistent with integrity and is even required by it in many circumstances.
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    “Embryo Autonomy?” What About the Autonomy of Infertility Patients? (review)
    American Journal of Bioethics 5 (6). 2005.
    A review of S. M. Liao's "Rescuing human embryonic stem cell research: The blastocyst transfer method," American Journal of Bioethics 5(6), 2005: 8:16.
  •  196
    An Institutional Solution to Conflicts of Conscience in Medicine (review)
    Hastings Center Report 40 (6): 41-42. 2010.
    A review of Holly Fernandez Lynch's book Conflicts of Conscience in Medicine (MIT Press, 2008).
  •  107
    Now that stem cell scientists are clamouring for human eggs for cloning-based stem cell research, there is vigorous debate about the ethics of paying women for their eggs. Generally speaking, some claim that women should be paid a fair wage for their reproductive labour or tissues, while others argue against the further commodification of reproductive labour or tissues and worry about voluntariness among potential egg providers. Siding mainly with those who believe that women should be financial…Read more
  •  44
    The Medical Nonnecessity of In Vitro Fertilization
    International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (1): 78-102. 2017.
    Whether in vitro fertilization is medically necessary determines, in many jurisdictions, whether it ought to be funded through public health insurance. This is certainly the case in Canada, where the Canada Health Act requires that provinces pay for all medically necessary health care services. Debate raged recently in Ontario, my own province, over whether IVF should be deemed medically necessary and therefore covered under Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan. Advocates for public funding insisted …Read more