Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Adam Hosein

Second Advisor

Janet Donavan

Third Advisor

Dominic Bailey


Women's reproductive rights are an extremely contentious issue in the United States. I argue that women must be equally represented in government for it to be just to write and pass legislation regarding women's reproductive rights. Throughout this thesis, I consider reproductive rights as negative rights that aim to protect procreative liberty for women. Procreative liberty is the freedom for people to choose to either procreate or refrain from doing so. As a negative right, procreative liberty is the protection of a man or woman’s ability to make the choice to procreate without interference from others or the government. In this thesis, I provide four main arguments that support why it is necessary that women are equally represented in government in order for legislation concerning women’s reproductive rights to be just legislation.

This thesis is broken into four main sections. Each section addresses either one argument to support my thesis or is a response to an objection to my thesis argument. The first section of my thesis is dedicated to addressing the two bad consequences that occur when a legislative body made up mostly of male representatives write and pass laws concerning women’s reproductive rights. The second section discusses the continued subordination of women in the United States. The third section is a response to the objection that it is just for a legislation body made up mostly of men to write and pass laws regarding women's reproductive rights because the government body was voted in democratically. The fourth and final section provides the argument that it is not just because legislation of this nature does not affect men and women equally.