Liberty, utility, and justice: an ethical approach to unwanted pregnancy

Ruth Macklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Three moral principles provide an ethical basis for the management of unwanted pregnancy. The principle of liberty guarantees a right to freedom of action; the utilitarian principle defines moral rightness by the greatest good for the greatest number; and justice requires that everyone have equitable access to necessary goods and services. Applied to unwanted pregnancy, these principles yield the conclusion that women have a natural right to reproductive freedom, and a social right to family planning and abortion services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - 1989


  • Abortion
  • Ethics
  • Family planning
  • Reproductive rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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