To respect the autonomous choices of persons is an important moral principle. There is, however, little agreement about its nature and its normative importance. This is due to the fact that the concept of autonomy as well as the moral relevance of autonomy are contested. It is argued in this paper that the debate about autonomy is at its core a debate about the reasons for respecting decisions. Decisions of persons are to be respected as their decisions, and they have to be respected as determining the deontic properties of situations. This, however, can only be understood against the background of persons having rights over themselves. Their decisions determine the deontic properties as exercises of their rights. Thus, respect for the autonomous choice of persons turns out to be respect for their rights.