We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

‘Abortion & "Artificial Wombs": Would ‘artificial womb’ technology legally empower non-gestating genetic progenitors to participate in decisions about how to terminate a pregnancy?'

Romanis, Elizabeth Chloe (2021) '‘Abortion & "Artificial Wombs": Would ‘artificial womb’ technology legally empower non-gestating genetic progenitors to participate in decisions about how to terminate a pregnancy?'.', Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 8 (1).


‘Artificial womb’ technology is highly anticipated for the benefits it might have as an alternative to neonatal intensive care and for pregnant people. In the bioethical literature, it has been suggested that such technology will force us to rethink the ethics of abortion. Some scholars have suggested that a pregnant person may be entitled to end a pregnancy but, with the advent of ectogestation, they may not be unilaterally entitled to opt for an abortion where the other genetic progenitor does not agree. Following two high-profile cases in England and Wales in the late 70s and 80s, English law is clear that genetic progenitors who do not gestate have no say in abortion decisions. It might be argued, however, that ectogestation casts doubt on the exclusion of all claims by genetic progenitors. In this article, I assess what a legal challenge to a decision to opt for abortion might look like with the advent of this technology, by examining whether genetic progenitors have the locus standi or grounds to seek an injunction to prevent abortion. I argue that such a challenge is unlikely to be successful.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Duke University School of Law, Harvard Law School, Oxford University Press, and Stanford Law School. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (, which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact
Date accepted:24 February 2021
Date deposited:26 October 2021
Date of first online publication:21 May 2021
Date first made open access:26 October 2021

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar