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Procreative loss without pregnancy loss: the limitations of fetal-centric conceptions of pregnancy
  1. Hannah Carpenter,
  2. Georgia Loutrianakis,
  3. Peyton Baker,
  4. Tiffany Bystra,
  5. Lisa Campo-Engelstein
  1. The Institute for Bioethics & Health Humanities, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Ms Hannah Carpenter, Bioethics and Health Humanities, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Galveston, Texas, USA; hvcarpen{at}utmb.edu

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In their article, Romanis and Adkins delineate pregnancy loss and procreative loss to show that the former is possible without the latter, as in the case of artificial amnion and placenta technology.1 Here, we are interested in examining the reverse—procreative loss without pregnancy loss—to further tease apart these two types of loss. We discuss two cases: being forced to continue a pregnancy despite fetal demise due to abortion restrictions and choosing to selectively reduce a multifetal pregnancy. Our analysis buttresses the authors’ conclusion: due to our fetal-centric conception of pregnancy, we are only able to value pregnancy instrumentally (ie, for the fetus), not intrinsically. Understanding pregnancy as an embodied state rather than a process that not only acknowledges the intrinsic value of pregnancy for pregnant people but also encourages society to intrinsically value pregnant people is important.

Forced pregnancy despite fetal demise

In 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States removed the constitutional right to an abortion in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, shifting the responsibility of determining abortion regulations to individual US states.2 Due to the Dobbs decision, there …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @hannahcarpentr, @CampoEngelstein

  • PB and TB contributed equally.

  • Contributors All authors contributed to conception and intellectual content development. HC drafted the article; GL provided primary revisions; PB and TB contributed equally with secondary revisions; LCE provided critical review and supervised the project.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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