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University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

2014

Decision making

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Aborted Emotions: Regret, Relationality, And Regulation, Jody Lyneé Madeira Jan 2014

Aborted Emotions: Regret, Relationality, And Regulation, Jody Lyneé Madeira

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Regret is a deeply contested emotion within abortion discourse. It is present in ways that we are both afraid of and afraid to talk about. Conventional pro-life and pro-choice narratives link regret to defective decision making. Both sides assert that the existence of regret reveals abortion’s harmfulness or harmlessness, generating a narrow focus on the maternal-fetal relationship and women’s “rights.” These incomplete, deeply flawed constructions mire discourse in a clash between regret and relief and exclude myriad relevant relationships. Moreover, they distort popular understandings of abortion that in turn influence women, creating cognitive dissonance and perhaps distress for ...