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2 Intl. J. Jurisprudence Fam. 179 (2011)
Her Choice, Her Problem: How Having a Choice Can Diminish Family Solidarity

handle is hein.journals/ijjf2 and id is 187 raw text is: HER CHOICE, HER PROBLEM:
Richard Stith'
This article explores a little-noticed dimension of abortion and assisted sui-
cide (or voluntary euthanasia): how choosing to reject those options can have
a negative impact on the legally authorized choosers. Women who refuse
abortion may be blamed for their choice by boyfriends, neighbors, employers,
and others. Similarly, infirm or dying persons may find family and other care-
givers upset by their refusal to agree to assisted suicide when voluntary death
seems the sensible option. Finally, the author questions whether a life chosen
as an option can ever have the dignity of a life simply accepted-that is,
whether the child a mother once chose not to abort suffers from her having
been able to choose otherwise, and whether the severely disabled but suicide-
rejecting person suffers from having to justify her continued existence.
Society sometimes limits choice in order to preclude a choice harmful to the
chooser. We might not permit people to sell their organs, for example, in part
because we fear they might seriously harm themselves by preferring money to
health. But there is a second kind of harm that could befall voluntary organ
vendors, one that results not from what they choose but from their having
been able to choose in the first place. Simply because they had a choice, they
may lose support among friends, family, and employers. Compare the plight
of someone who needs expensive and time-consuming special care because of
an operation forced on her by an illness-say, cancer surgery-with the same
' J.D. (Yale), Ph.D. (Yale), Professor of Law, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana.
The author especially thanks Joseph Heschmeyer for the empirical support and analysis
gathered in his unpublished 2009 study in critical race theory, Max Solomon for his able
research assistance, and Robert Blomquist, Paul Brietzke, Christian Brugger, Clarke
Forsythe, George Dent, Scott FitzGibbon, Gilbert Meilaender, Michael Murray, Mark
Rienzi, Bradley Turflinger, Lynn Wardle, and Susan Yoshihara for their thoughtful
comments on one or another draft. He is also grateful to the many others at home and
abroad who have borne with an oral presentation of some version of this essay. None,
however, has expressed complete agreement with the final outcome.

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