David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (2):89-93 (2013)
In his classic paper, ‘Why abortion is immoral’, Don Marquis argues that what makes killing an adult seriously immoral is that it deprives the victim of the valuable future he/she would have otherwise had. Moreover, Marquis contends, because abortion deprives a fetus of the very same thing, aborting a fetus is just as seriously wrong as killing an adult. Marquis’ argument has received a great deal of critical attention in the two decades since its publication. Nonetheless, there is a potential challenge to it that seems to have gone unnoticed. A significant percentage of fetuses are lost to spontaneous abortion. Once we bring this fact to our attention, it becomes less clear whether Marquis can use his account of the wrongness of killing to show that abortion is the moral equivalent of murder. In this paper, I explore the relevance of the rate of spontaneous abortion to Marquis’ classic anti-abortion argument. I introduce a case I call Unexpected Death in which someone is about to commit murder, but, just as the would-be murderer is about to strike, his would-be victim dies unexpectedly. I then ask: what does Marquis’ account of killing imply about the moral status of what the would-be murderer was about to do? I consider four responses Marquis could give to this question, and I examine what implications these responses have for Marquis’ strategy of using his account of the wrongness of killing an adult to show that abortion is in the same moral category
|Keywords||info:mesh/Abortion, Spontaneous info:mesh/Homicide info:mesh/Ethical Analysis info:mesh/Pregnancy info:mesh/Value of Life info:mesh/Gestational Age info:mesh/Humans info:mesh/Adult info:mesh/Death, Sudden info:mesh/Ethical Theory Humans Abortion, Spontaneous Death, Sudden Euthanasia Morals Gestational Age Pregnancy Homicide Ethical Analysis Ethical Theory Value of Life Adult Female info:mesh/Morals info:mesh/Female info:mesh/Euthanasia|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Alex Rajczi (2009). Abortion, Competing Entitlements, and Parental Responsibility. Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (4):379-395.
Marcia Riordan (2009). Chemical Abortion in Australia. Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin 15 (2):6.
C. Strong (2008). A Critique of “the Best Secular Argument Against Abortion”. Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (10):727-731.
David F. Walbert (1973). Abortion, Society, and the Law. Cleveland [Ohio]Press of Case Western Reserve University.
Ezio Di Nucci (2009). On How to Interpret the Role of the Future Within the Abortion Debate. Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (10):651-652.
Richard Schoenig (1998). Abortion, Christianity, and Consistency. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 5 (1):32-37.
Jeffrey Reiman (1998). Abortion, Infanticide, and the Changing Grounds of the Wrongness of Killing: Reply to Don Marquis's "Reiman on Abortion". Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (2):168-174.
Bernard Gert (2010). Moral Disagreement Concerning Abortion. Diametros 26:23-43.
C. Strong (2009). Reply to Di Nucci: Why the Counterexamples Succeed. Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):326-327.
F. M. Kamm (1992). Creation and Abortion: A Study in Moral and Legal Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
James Evans (2008). Beyond Abortion: The Looming Battle Over Death in the 'Culture Wars'. Bioethics 22 (7):379-387.
Zac Alstin (2012). Abortion Rates: Is a Rough Estimate Better Than No Estimate at All? Bioethics Research Notes 24 (2):32.
Chris Heathwood (2011). The Significance of Personal Identity to Abortion. Bioethics 25 (4):230-232.
Added to index2012-10-05
Total downloads6 ( #204,508 of 1,101,623 )
Recent downloads (6 months)4 ( #81,941 of 1,101,623 )
How can I increase my downloads?