On Life, Death, and Abortion

Utilitas 8 (02):159- (1996)
Abstract
Morally speaking, is abortion murder? This is what I am calling the ‘abortion problem’. I claim that neither pro-life nor pro-choice advocates have the correct solution; that the correct solution is instead one considered correct by relatively few people. But if this solution really is correct, then why, after years of intense debate, is this solution not more widely accepted? Many, no doubt, are precluded from accepting it by religious dogma. But others, I think, fail to arrive at a correct solution because they have been approaching the problem from the wrong theoretical framework. Or they have been approaching it without any theoretical framework at all. That is, they have no theoretical framework beyond that of merely examining their moral intuitions and, if anything is clear so far from the abortion debate, it is that intuitions alone, which differ radically from person to person, are not sufficient to solve the problem. In short: one is unlikely to arrive at the correct solution unless one starts from a sound theoretical framework. I shall, in what follows, sketch what I take to be a sound theoretical framework. Then I shall try to show what solution to the abortion problem follows from it
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Joel Feinberg (1980). Abortion. In Tom L. Beauchamp & Tom Regan (eds.), Matters of Life and Death. Temple University Press.
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