Creation and Abortion: A Study in Moral and Legal Philosophy

By F. M. Kamm | Go to book overview

Introduction

It is widely assumed that if a fetus 1 were acknowledged to have the rights of a person, abortions (and many other reproductive freedoms) would not be permissible. This prohibition would perhaps seem even more justified if the fetus were accorded the rights of an infant, as we tend to be more protective of them than of adults. 2

In this book, I shall examine arguments favoring the permissibility of abortion even if the fetus is considered to be a person (or infant). I shall focus on those cases in which this approach is thought least likely to succeed, namely, nonrape cases. In the first chapter I consider a general argument for permitting the taking of a life in nonabortion contexts. In addition, I also consider the moral distinction between killing someone and letting someone die, and I briefly discuss euthanasia. In the second chapter I apply this argument to specific cases. In the third chapter I discuss variations of these cases and alternative ways of dealing with them. In these chapters I develop elements of a theory of self-defense. I employ some farfetched hypothetical cases in the hope that we can then reason without preconceived commitments and emotional responses. The results should be relevant to abortion. In the fourth chapter I consider an analogous argument for the moral permissibility of aborting a fetus, the cutoff abortion argument. In the second part of Chapter 4, I turn to significant differences between the analogous cases and abortion, those factors that many people consider crucial to understanding the problem of abortion, for example, equality of the sexes and the naturalness of pregnancy. One reason for not presenting these factors earlier is that, I believe, they can be used in arguments for or against the permis

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Creation and Abortion: A Study in Moral and Legal Philosophy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - May We Kill in Nonabortion Cases? 20
  • Notes 39
  • 2 - Applying the Argument to Specific Nonabortion Cases 42
  • Notes 63
  • 3 - Variations and Alternatives 64
  • Notes 76
  • 4 - May We Kill in Abortion Cases? 78
  • Notes 120
  • 5 - Creating Responsibly 124
  • Notes 182
  • 6 - Informed Consent, Responsibilities in Pregnancy, and External Means of Gestation 186
  • Notes 218
  • Index 221
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