Along with Knocked Up and Waitress, two other 2007 films about women facing unplanned pregnancies, Juno was interpreted by some critics as having a pro-life theme. Ann Hulbert of Slate magazine believed that Juno "[undercut] both pro-life and pro-choice purism." Jeff Dawson of The Sunday Times believed that the film was inevitably placed in the "unwanted pregnancy subgenre" with Knocked Up and Waitress due to its subject matter but thought that its interpretation as a pro-life film only "muddied the waters". Hadley Freeman of The Guardian criticized Juno for "complet[ing] a hat-trick of American comedies in the past 12 months that present abortion as unreasonable, or even unthinkable—a telling social sign", though she noted, "I don't believe any of these films is consciously designed to be anti-abortion propaganda." A. O. Scott, writing for The New York Times, agreed that Juno has "an underlying theme, a message that is not anti-abortion but rather pro-adulthood." Ellen Page commented, "What I get most frustrated at is when people call it a pro-life movie, which is just absurd ... The most important thing is the choice is there, and the film completely demonstrates that." Cody and Page have openly stated that they are pro-choice; Reitman thought that it was "fantastic" that pro-life and pro-choice groups were embracing the film. He said that "Juno seems to be a mirror, and people [on both sides] see themselves in it."
Other critics labeled Juno as feminist because of its portrayal of Juno as a confident and intelligent teenage girl. Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe concluded "Juno serves cool, intelligent girls something they rarely see in a movie: themselves." Cody said about writing the film, "Women are clever, women are funny, women are sharp, and I wanted to show that these girls were human and not the stereotypical teenage girls that we often see in the media" and "There was a lack of authentic teen girl characters ... I saw writing this screenplay as an opportunity to create an iconic female." Page praised the film for its positive depiction of teenage girls, describing Juno's character as "really refreshing and allow[ing] for new possibilities in what young women can be" and "honest but original, completely devoid of stereotype", while also highlighting that "Girls haven't had that sort of character before. We don't have our Catcher in the Rye." She criticized the media perception of her character as a "strong woman", arguing that if Juno were a male character, the "strength" of the character would not be considered remarkable. Reitman was interested in the personal/political conflict for Vanessa's character: "Feminism has paved the way for Vanessa's career, but ultimately Vanessa wants to be a full time mother."