The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 23, Issue 1, Spring 2023

Nicholas M. Ramirez
Pages 83-97

Teleology and the Problem of Bodily-Rights Arguments

In this paper I argue that teleology and a proper teleological analysis of the uterus is important for a comprehensive understanding of the rights of the unborn. I argue that a right to life entails the right to use those organs that naturally function for an individual’s survival. Consequently, an unborn child has a right to his mother’s uterus. If this is accepted, bodily-rights arguments for abortion such as those proposed by Judith Jarvis Thomson and David Boonin are completely undermined. While Thomson and Boonin may be justified in arguing the right to life does not always entail the right to use another person’s body, I argue that the right to life of the unborn does entail the right to use their mother’s body.