Justifying Abortion

This fascinating paper on abortion has probably been circulating for some time, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to read it. A brief note about the author’s hypotheticals: I suspect the pro-life response to many of these scenarios would be similar to torture opponents’ rejoinder to the ticking time bomb: “Yes, torture/abortion may be justified under certain extreme conditions, but that isn’t a reason to legalize its practice/make it widely available.”

Please do be so kind as to share this post.
Share

2 thoughts on “Justifying Abortion

  1. I think there was too much equivocation about what the word ‘person’ meant (she was not at all clear if this is a legal ‘person,’ a metaphysical ‘person,’ an imago Dei ‘person’, etc.). Also there were way too many phrases like “It cannot seriously be thought …” and “If anything in the world is true, it is …”, which she then followed with statements that are not, in fact, absurd/obvious, but probably only absurd/obvious to someone with her premises. See esp. the conclusion, where she writes, “Our sense” that a rape victim may “of course” choose abortion; or the last sentence, even, where she says (a propos of nothing, really) that “a very early abortion is surely not the killing of a person.” If one of my philosophy undergrads CONCLUDED their essay with that statement, I would have a stern conversation with them, for sure. Or also, on page 54, she mentions a premise about the body being “on loan”, as it were (a premise held by many religious folk, obvoiusly) and then says, “But I shall simply ignore this possibility.” Basically, her arguments only work if you’re operating from the usual background of assumed liberal-democratic-humanist-atheist premises. Without those, sure, it isn’t “morally required” (p. 61) to carry a fetus to term; but in Macintyre’s phrase: “Whose morality?” (Though whether this morality could or should be codified into 21st century American law is of course a whole other kettle of fish.)

    This is not to say that it wasn’t a very interesting article; particularly the point about how if a pregnancy only lasted one hour, we would think it indecent for a woman to not give birth to a child that was the product of rape; yet why should the length of the pregnancy really matter?

      Quote  Link

    Report

  2. Intriguing. it makes me ask the related question, “if abortion is an unjust killing, then why is collateral damage not so?” those who claim the latter yet rationallize the latter would do well to reflect upon it.

      Quote  Link

    Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *