chapter  6
10 Pages

Why Suicide Is Like Contraception

A Woman-Centered View
WithDena S. Davis

Embracing the idea of suicide as one possible choice among others aligns people on the feminist side of two important divides that are present in the debate over contraception as well: passive versus active and natural versus chose. To use contraception or sterilization is to view one's fertility as contingent rather than given, and to limit one's fertility as a way of maximizing one's interests and goals. Today, most feminists believe that access to contraception and sterilization is the sine qua non of women's self-determination. David Novak mocks autonomy arguments for suicide when he says this: People want to die just as they have lived autonomously. There are many different ways in which women's experience can illuminate the complex debate over rational suicide. The author's goal in this essay, by drawing an analogy between contraception and rational suicide, is to highlight one area in which women's experience can argue in favor of support for rational suicide.