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Gestationalism and the Rights of Adolescent Mothers

  • Teresa Baron ORCID logo EMAIL logo


In this paper, I explore the ways in which consideration of adolescent parents forces us to confront and question common presuppositions about parental rights. In particular, I argue that recognising the right of adolescent mothers not to be forcibly separated from their newborn children justifies rejecting the notion that parental rights are (a) all acquired in the same manner and (b) acquired as a ‘bundle’ of concomitant moral rights. I conclude that children and adolescents who conceive and give birth have some parental rights concerning their newborn children – in particular, the right not to be forcibly separated from those children – even if they do not have the ‘full complement’ of parental rights as we generally characterise these.


I am grateful to the reviewers and guest editors of Moral Philosophy and Politics for their feedback and suggestions. Research for this article was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 679586.


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Published Online: 2020-05-28
Published in Print: 2020-11-26

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