Document Type


Publication Title

Rutgers Law Review

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Gun Rights, Abortion Rights, Constitutional Interpretation


In this article, Professor Nicholas J. Johnson explores the parallels between the right of armed self-defense and the woman's right to abortion. Professor Johnson demonstrates that the theories and principles advanced to support the abortion right intersect substantially with an individual's right to armed self-defense. Professor Johnson uncovers common ground between the gun and abortion rights - two rights that have come to symbolize society's deepest social and cultural divisions - divisions that prompt many to embrace the abortion right while summarily rejecting the gun right. Unreflective disparagement of the gun right, he argues, threatens the vitality of the abortion choice theories with which gun-rights arguments intersect and suggests that society's most difficult questions are settled not on principle, but by people's passions.