Creation and Abortion: A Study in Moral and Legal Philosophy

By F. M. Kamm | Go to book overview

Would it be morally unreasonable for citizens of the society to decide whether immigrants should have rights equal to established citizens' rights, based on factors such as the benefit-burden approach presents (i.e., based on how much their having such full-fledged rights would impose on the full-fledged citizens, how badly off the immigrants are in comparison to how they otherwise would have been if they are not fully protected, what risks for benefits we might expect them to bear, etc.)?

This response to the objection can be understood better if we consider another objection to the argument: If people come to our country to escape an undeserved threat of death, we do not send them back. They are allowed to stay. (An undeserved threat of death is not the same as an unjust threat of death. The fetus does not deserve to die, but we must not prejudge the permissibility of abortion by comparing its death with what is assumed to be an unjust killing of a refugee.) Is this not analogous to the case of the fetus who will die if it is not allowed to stay? Not entirely. The case of the fetus is, rather, analogous to a case in which the refugee escaping an undeserved death requires not mere residence in this country but residence in the body of one of its residents. Specifically, may the state require that a resident place the refugee in his body for nine months, as the alternative to sending him back, if citizens do this for each other?


Notes
1.
If the cutoff abortion argument is not correct, is the output cutoff argument for the violinist case therefore incorrect as well? Not necessarily, because different factors may be present in each case. In particular, creation may make the difference.
2.
Some conditions may be more resistant to historical change. For instance, producing a person who will have a great physical disability or who will live only a very short time might seem always to count strongly against reproducing. Even here, however, an element of relativism may creep in. If mutations changed us so that all we could reproduce were people who lived for only one year, we might nevertheless be justified in reproducing. That is, we would have radically changed our conception of our "normal" species. Economic and social hardships, unlike basic characteristics of the person, might have to be accepted at certain times in history. By associating itself with the call for "no unwanted children," the birth control movement is calling for a higher minimal standard for creating, insofar as it is concerned with not conceiving unwanted children,

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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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