Postnatal reproductive autonomy: Promoting relational autonomy and self-trust in new parents

Bioethics 23 (1):9-19 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX


New parents suddenly come face to face with myriad issues that demand careful attention but appear in a context unlikely to provide opportunities for extended or clear-headed critical reflection, whether at home with a new baby or in the neonatal intensive care unit. As such, their capacity for autonomy may be compromised. Attending to new parental autonomy as an extension of reproductive autonomy, and as a complicated phenomenon in its own right rather than simply as a matter to be balanced against other autonomy rights, can help us to see how new parents might be aided in their quest for competency and good decision making. In this paper I show how a relational view of autonomy – attentive to the coercive effects of oppressive social norms and to the importance of developing autonomy competency, especially as related to self-trust – can improve our understanding of the situation of new parents and signal ways to cultivate and to better respect their autonomy.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 86,507

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library


Added to PP

61 (#225,592)

6 months
1 (#870,792)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Sara Goering
University of Washington

Citations of this work

Trust.Carolyn McLeod - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Three Varieties of Faith.Ryan Preston-Roedder - 2018 - Philosophical Topics 46 (1):173-199.
Whither Bioethics Now? The Promise of Relational Theory.Susan Sherwin & Katie Stockdale - 2017 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 10 (1):7-29.
The limitations of liberal reproductive autonomy.J. Y. Lee - 2022 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 25 (3):523-529.
Postpartum Maternal Tethering: A Bioethics of Early Motherhood.Katherine A. Mason - 2021 - International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics 14 (1):49-72.

View all 16 citations / Add more citations