Creation and Abortion: A Study in Moral and Legal Philosophy


Presenting a new argument, this book attacks the view that if a fetus has the moral standing of a person it has a right to life and abortion is impermissable. Most discussion of abortion has assumed that this premise is correct, and so has focused on the question of the personhood of the fetus. Kamm, however, argues that abortion can be moral even if the fetus is indeed a person. Kamm begins by examining the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, and considers whether the potential to become a person should protect the fetus from abortion. After presenting the case for killing persons in non-abortion contexts, she goes on to apply this argument to the case of abortion, and offers a detailed consideration of the differences between the two cases, focusing in particular on the significance of pregnancy as a natural phenomenon that occurs to only one of the two sexes. Kamm develops here own argument defending the morality of abortion, which emerges as part of a broader theory of creating new people responsibly. In a concluding chapter, she explores the implications of her argument for informed consent to abortion; responsibilities in pregnancy that is not aborted, and the significance of extra-uterine gestation devices for the permissibility of abortion.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1992


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