Title

The State's Interest in Potential Life

Authors

Dov Fox

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Courts have resolved a range of controversies by casual appeal to the state’s interest in “potential life” that the Supreme Court has held capable of overriding even fundamental rights. My analysis of this potential-life interest reveals its use to mean not one but four species of government concern that I call prenatal welfare, postnatal welfare, social values, and social effects. I demonstrate how these distinct state interests operate -- across a range of different contexts with varying levels of justificatory strength -- to resolve reproductive disputes in more precise and sound ways. I respond to institutional competence and social mediation challenges to disentangling potential-life interests.

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