•  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
  •  1019
    Some bioethicists argue that conscientious objectors in health care should have to justify themselves, just as objectors in the military do. They should have to provide reasons that explain why they should be exempt from offering the services that they find offensive. There are two versions of this view in the literature, each giving different standards of justification. We show these views are each either too permissive (i.e. would result in problematic exemptions based on conscience) or too re…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
  •  490
    Can a Right to Reproduce Justify the Status Quo on Parental Licensing?
    In Richard Vernon, Sarah Hannan & Samantha Brennan (eds.), Permissible Progeny: The Morality of Procreation and Parenting, Oxford University Press. pp. 184-207. 2015.
    The status quo on parental licensing in most Western jurisdictions is that licensing is required in the case of adoption but not in the case of assisted or unassisted biological reproduction. To have a child via adoption, one must fulfill licensing requirements, which, beyond the usual home study, can include mandatory participation in parenting classes. One is exempt from these requirements, however, if one has a child via biological reproduction, including assisted reproduction involving donor…Read more
  •  398
    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. McLeod argues that the referral requirement is jus…Read more
  •  381
    Conscientious Refusal and Access to Abortion and Contraception
    In John Arras, Elizabeth Fenton & Rebecca Kukla (eds.), Routledge Companion to Bioethics, Routledge. pp. 343-356. 2015.
    An overview of the philosophical and bioethics literature on conscientious refusals by health care professionals to provide abortion and contraceptive services.
  •  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
  •  301
    A model policy for conscientious objection in medicine.
  •  242
    This paper addresses the likely impact on women of being denied emergency contraception (EC) by pharmacists who conscientiously refuse to provide it. A common view—defended by Elizabeth Fenton and Loren Lomasky, among others—is that these refusals inconvenience rather than harm women so long as the women can easily get EC somewhere else nearby. I argue from a feminist perspective that the refusals harm women even when they can easily get EC somewhere else nearby.
  •  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).
  •  195
    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
  •  190
    The power of new medical technologies, the cultural authority of physicians, and the gendered power dynamics of many patient-physician relationships can all inhibit women's reproductive freedom. Often these factors interfere with women's ability to trust themselves to choose and act in ways that are consistent with their own goals and values. In this book Carolyn McLeod introduces to the reproductive ethics literature the idea that in reproductive health care women's self-trust can be undermined…Read more
  •  157
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2020.
    A summary of the philosophical literature on trust.
  •  143
    How to Distinguish Autonomy from Integrity
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 35 (1). 2005.
    The article aims to distinguish autonomy from integrity. I claim that integrity is different from a form of autonomy at least, but that integrity and autonomy overlap considerably. Integrity itself is a form of autonomy: what ethicists call ‘moral autonomy.’ (They tend to distinguish between personal and moral autonomy.) Autonomy is the genus, one might say, with integrity (i.e., moral autonomy) and personal autonomy being species of it.
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  79
    Mere and Partial Means: The Full Range of the Objectification of Women
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 32 (Supplement): 219-244. 2002.
    The main aims of the paper are to explain how objectification admits of degrees and why a significant portion of the objectification of women in contemporary Western society - objectification that contributes to their oppression - is what I call "partial objectification." To acknowledge the full range of objectification in women's lives, feminists need a theory of how objectification can be degreed. They need to be able to say that women can be both bosom and legitimate job candidate, both breed…Read more
  •  50
    Our Attitude Towards the Motivation of Those We Trust
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 28 (3): 465-479. 2000.
  •  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
  •  49
    Family Making: Contemporary Ethical Challenges (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2014.
    This book concerns the ethics of having children through adoption or technologically-assisted reproduction. Some people who choose between these methods struggle between them. Others do not agonize in this way, perhaps because they have a profound desire for a genetic link to the child(ren) they will parent and so prefer assisted reproduction, they view adoption as the only morally decent choice in an overcrowded world, or for some other reason. This book critically examines moral choices that i…Read more
  •  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
  •  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
  •  46
    Licensing Parents in International Contract Pregnancies
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (2): 178-196. 2016.
    The Hague Conference on Private International Law currently has a Parentage/Surrogacy Project, which evaluates the legal status of children in cross-border situations, including situations involving international contract pregnancy. Should a convention focusing on international contract pregnancy emerge from this project, it will need to be consistent with the Hague convention on Intercountry Adoption. The latter convention prohibits adoptions unless, among other things, ‘the competent authoriti…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
  •  43
    A Review of Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics, by Onora O'Neill (review)
    American Journal of Medical Genetics 121 (1): 85-87. 2003.
  •  39
    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.
  •  39
    Understanding Trust
    In Francoise Baylis, Jocelyn Downie, Barry Hoffmaster & Susan Sherwin (eds.), Health Care Ethics in Canada, Harcourt Brace. pp. 186--92. 2004.
  •  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