Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy

Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy

Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy

Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy

Synopsis

Discusses the moral, medical, religious, and legal aspects of abortion and summarizes the various arguments for and against abortion.

Excerpt

This book is an attempt at a systematic moral evaluation of a crucial contemporary problem. Few moral issues have preoccupied our minds and emotions as the abortion controversy has. It is not going to go away so we might as well begin to think through the matter carefully. Without question it is an important and controversial topic, and the literature, already enormous, continues to grow rapidly. If there is any justification for my adding to it, it is to be found in what I hope is the unique blend contained in these pages. For my own interests extend to philosophy as well as theology, to academic as well as popular arguments, and these interests are reflected in this book.

I have, first of all, attempted to interact with the significant contributions of moral philosophers. in the past fifteen years, philosophers have increasingly given their attention and considerable analytical skills to normative ethical issues, and as a result they have produced an impressive body of literature on a broad range of moral questions, including abortion. the work of professional philosophers constitutes not merely an important resource but perhaps the most important single resource for anyone who wants to grapple with this issue intelligently. One can find the full spectrum of views represented in these works. Theological conservatives who are unacquainted with it (and even some who are writing about abortion give every appearance of such ignorance) may be surprised to find that the most rigorous advocacy of a conservative position on abortion (i.e., the case for a full right to life from the moment of conception) is being produced by secular philosophers who make no appeal to theological assumptions in the course of their argumentation. of course it is also true that other philosophers have raised serious objections to the conservative position and argued cogently for a radical alternative (viz., that one needs no reasons to morally justify an abortion). the literature on abortion produced by moral philosophers, then, is sophisticated and wide-ranging in . . .

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