David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 78:119-132 (2004)
In this paper I explore Aristotle’s idea of epikeia, or equity, in relation to the contemporary abortion debate. Equity is the rule of justice that insists we gobeyond the letter of the law in those cases in which following it would be harmful. One consequence of this is that we do not need to create exceptionless laws,since laws can admit exceptions for the sake of a higher good. I argue that this arrangement appears to be a reasonable way to move the abortion debate forward, since the common good would mandate the prohibition of most abortions, but applications of equity would protect access to abortion for those considered most in need. In the end, though, despite this reasonableness, its usefulness for reforming abortion law is limited due to the current hostility of the American legislature to natural law as a higher form of justice
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