Justifying Abortion



Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

Related Post Roulette

2 Responses

  1. Avatar paul h. says:

    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?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.Report