He Said, She Said: Søren Kierkegaard and Simone De Beauvoir's Divergence on Existentialism and Feminism's Role in Abortion

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Ibrahim, Gina
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
In an attempt to strengthen the right to privacy regarding abortion as outlined in Roe (1973), Casey (1992) significantly eroded its core principles. Ultimately, the recent Dobbs (2022) decision overruled both cases. While both Søren Kierkegaard and Simone de Beauvoir were existentialist philosophers, their writings diverge when applied to Dobbs (2022). Although initial examination of Kierkegaard’s consistent push towards human subjectivity and personal choice leans toward a legitimate right to privacy, further analysis shows that he viewed women as incapable of making decisions regarding abortion. Women are likely to remain within the aesthetic arena, and valid choices are only made within the ethical stage. So, the immediate choices they make in the aesthetic are null and void. De Beauvoir decried such a perspective on women. She critiqued women’s otherness relative to men in society, pushed for female autonomy, and rejected gender norms. When their philosophies are applied to the majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions in Dobbs (2022), they arrive at different conclusions.