I Was Once a Fetus: That is Why Abortion is Wrong
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â I am going to give an argument showing that abortion is wrong in exactly the same circumstances in which it is wrong to kill an adult.Â To argue further that abortion is always wrong would require showing that it is always wrong to kill an adult or that the circumstances in which it is not wrong--say, capital punishment--never befall a fetus.Â Such an argument will be beyond the scope of this paper, but since it is uncontroversial that it is wrong to kill an adult human being for the sorts of reasons for which most abortions are performed, it follows that most abortions are wrong. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The argument has three parts, of decreasing difficulty.Â The most difficult will be the first part where I will argue that I was once a fetus and before that I was an embryo.Â This argument will rest on simple considerations of the metaphysics of identity.Â The next part of the argument will be to show that it would have been at least as wrong to have killed me before I was born as it would be to kill me now.Â I will argue for this in more than one way, but the guiding intuition is clear: if you kill me earlier, the victim is the same but the harm is greater since I am deprived of more the earlier I die.Â Finally, the easiest part of the argument will be that I am not relevantly different from anybody else and the fetus which I was was not relevantly different from any other human fetus, and so the argument applies equally well to all fetuses. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The advantage of this argument over others is that it avoids talking of personhood, except in one of the independent arguments in part 2.
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Eugene Mills (2013). Early Abortion and Personal Ontology. Acta Analytica 28 (1):19-30.
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