Document Type


Publication Title

Villanova Law Review



Publication Date



Abortion, Prohibiting Recovery in Abortion Suits, Gender Bias


Most courts hold that, by agreeing to have an illegal abortion, a woman forfeits her right to recover for injuries tortuously inflicted during that abortion. Nevertheless, most courts do permit suits by those injured in the course of committing other crimes, and they usually do so without considering whether plaintiff's criminal conduct should prevent recovery. Part II of this Article explores and discredits the reasons offered for prohibiting recovery in abortion suits. 21 Part III analyzes, on a chronological basis, each state's decisions prohibiting such recovery. Part IV discusses possible explanations for the abortion decisions, noting that these women's claims received remarkably different treatment from that accorded to people who were injured as a result of the types of criminal conduct typically engaged in by men. The Article concludes that this disparate treatment is largely the result of a subtle type of gender bias that has received little attention-bias caused by "male identification with males."