No Higher Court: Contemporary Feminism and the Right to Abortion

By Germain Kopaczynski | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER FOUR
BEVERLY WILDUNG HARRISON, 1932-

The Theology of Abortion

From a feminist theological point of view, prohibition of legal abortion involves the effort to deny full freedom or centered moral agency, and hence full humanity, to over half the population.1

T he last of the four feminist thinkers to be treated is Beverly Wildung Harrison. Born in 1932, she is a professor of Christian Ethics at the Protestant Union Theological Seminary in New York, serves on the editorial board of Concilium, and is past president of the Society of Christian Ethics. Her influence has been notable in the United States, especially in social ethics. At least two books have been dedicated to her,2 and other authors writing in the field of Christian ethics often cite her.3 One author regards Harrison's work on the ethics

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1
Beverly Wildung Harrison, Our Right to Choose. Toward a New Ethic of Abortion ( Boston: Beacon Press, 1983), p. 116.
2
One of them is Barbara Hilkert Andolsen, Christine Gudorf, and Mary Pellauer (eds.), Women's Consciousness, Women's Conscience. A Reader in Feminist Ethics. As the editors dedicate the volume to Harrison, they do so by noting that it was she who taught them what a passion for justice was. The other is Isabel Carter Heyward, The Redemption of God: A Theology of Mutual Relation ( Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1982).
3
A good place to observe Harrison's influence in American religious ethics is James F. Childress and John Macquarrie (eds.), The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Ethics ( Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1986). One finds not only several entries written by Harrison herself but also mention made of her in a host of other entries, especially in the bibliographies.

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