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Abortion and miscarriage

Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1217-1226 (2017)

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  1. Children, Fetuses, and the Non-Existent: Moral Obligations and the Beginning of Life.Elizabeth Jackson - 2021 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (4):379–393.
    The morality of abortion is a longstanding controversy. One may wonder whether it’s even possible to make significant progress on an issue over which so much ink has already been split and there is such polarizing disagreement (Boyle 1994). The papers in this issue show that this progress is possible—there is more to be said about abortion and other crucial beginning-of-life issues. They do so largely by applying contemporary philosophical tools to moral questions involving life’s beginning. The first two papers (...)
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  • Schrödinger’s Fetus.Joona Räsänen - 2020 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (1):125-130.
    This paper defends and develops Elizabeth Harman’s Actual Future Principle with a concept called Schrödinger’s Fetus. I argue that all early fetuses are Schrödinger’s Fetuses: those early fetuses that survive and become conscious beings have full moral status already as early fetuses, but those fetuses that die as early fetuses lack moral status. With Schrödinger’s Fetus, it becomes possible to accept two widely held but contradictory intuitions to be true, and to avoid certain reductiones ad absurdum that pro-life and pro-choice (...)
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  • Is Pregnancy Really a Good Samaritan Act?Bruce P. Blackshaw - 2021 - Christian Bioethics 27 (2):158–168.
    One of the most influential philosophical arguments in favour of the permissibility of abortion is Judith Jarvis Thomson’s violinist analogy, presented in ‘A Defense of Abortion’. Its appeal for pro-choice advocates lies in Thomson’s granting that the fetus is a person with equivalent moral status to any other human being, and yet demonstrating—to those who accept her reasoning—that abortion is still permissible. In her argument, Thomson draws heavily on the parable of the Good Samaritan, arguing that gestating a fetus in (...)
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  • What Must Pro‐Lifers Believe About the Moral Status of Embryos?David B. Hershenov - 2020 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (2):186-202.
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  • If Fetuses Are Persons, Abortion is a Public Health Crisis.Bruce Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2021 - Bioethics 35 (5):465-472.
    Pro-life advocates commonly argue that fetuses have the moral status of persons, and an accompanying right to life, a view most pro-choice advocates deny. A difficulty for this pro-life position has been Judith Jarvis Thomson’s violinist analogy, in which she argues that even if the fetus is a person, abortion is often permissible because a pregnant woman is not obliged to continue to offer her body as life support. Here, we outline the moral theories underlying public health ethics, and examine (...)
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  • Miscarriage is Not a Cause of Death: A Response to Berg’s “Abortion and Miscarriage”.Nicholas Colgrove - forthcoming - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy.
    Some opponents of abortion claim that fetuses are persons from the moment of conception. Following Berg (2017), let us call these individuals “Personhood-At-Conception” (or PAC), opponents of abortion. Berg argues that if fetuses are persons from the moment of conception, then miscarriage kills far more people than abortion. As such, PAC opponents of abortion face the following dilemma: They must “immediately” and “substantially” shift their attention, resources, etc., toward preventing miscarriage or they must admit that they do not actually believe (...)
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  • It’s Complicated: What Our Attitudes Toward Pregnancy, Abortion, and Miscarriage Tell Us About the Moral Status of Early Fetuses.K. Lindsey Chambers - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):950-965.
    Many accounts of the morality of abortion assume that early fetuses must all have or lack moral status in virtue of developmental features that they share. Our actual attitudes toward early fetuses don’t reflect this all-or-nothing assumption: early fetuses can elicit feelings of joy, love, indifference, or distress. If we start with the assumption that our attitudes toward fetuses reflect a real difference in their moral status, then we need an account of fetal moral status that can explain that difference. (...)
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  • Prolife Hypocrisy: Why Inconsistency Arguments Do Not Matter.Nicholas Colgrove, Bruce Philip Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics (Online First):1-6.
    Opponents of abortion are often described as ‘inconsistent’ (hypocrites) in terms of their beliefs, actions and/or priorities. They are alleged to do too little to combat spontaneous abortion, they should be adopting cryopreserved embryos with greater frequency and so on. These types of arguments—which we call ‘inconsistency arguments’—conform to a common pattern. Each specifies what consistent opponents of abortion would do (or believe), asserts that they fail to act (or believe) accordingly and concludes that they are inconsistent. Here, we show (...)
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  • The Inconsistency Argument: Why Apparent Pro-Life Inconsistency Undermines Opposition to Induced Abortion.William Simkulet - forthcoming - Journal of Medical Ethics:medethics-2020-107207.
    Most opposition to induced abortion turns on the belief that human fetuses are persons from conception. On this view, the moral status of the fetus alone requires those in a position to provide aid—gestational mothers—to make tremendous sacrifices to benefit the fetus. Recently, critics have argued that this pro-life position requires more than opposition to induced abortion. Pro-life theorists are relatively silent on the issues of spontaneous abortion, surplus in vitro fertilisation human embryos, and the suffering and death of born (...)
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  • Abortion and Ectogenesis: Moral Compromise.William Simkulet - 2020 - Journal of Medical Ethics 46 (2):93-98.
    The contemporary philosophical literature on abortion primarily revolves around three seemingly intractable debates, concerning the moral status of the fetus, scope of women’s rights and moral relevance of the killing/letting die distinction. The possibility of ectogenesis—technology that would allow a fetus to develop outside of a gestational mother’s womb—presents a unique opportunity for moral compromise. Here, I argue those opposed to abortion have a prima facie moral obligation to pursue ectogenesis technology and provide ectogenesis for disconnected fetuses as part of (...)
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  • Two Tragedies Argument: Two Mistakes.William Simkulet - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (8):562-564.
    Most opposition to abortion turns on the claim that human fetuses are full moral agents from conception. Critics argue that antiabortion theorists act hypocritically when they neglect spontaneous abortions—valuing some fetal lives and not others. Many philosophers draw a distinction between killing and letting die, with the former being morally impermissible and latter acceptable. Henrick Friberg-Fernros appeals to this distinction with his Two Tragedies Argument, contending that anti-abortion theorists are justified in prioritising preventing induced abortions over spontaneous ones, as the (...)
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  • The Two Tragedies Argument.William Simkulet - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (5):304-308.
    Opposition to induced abortion rests on the belief that fetuses have a moral status comparable to beings like us, and that the loss of such a life is tragic. Antiabortion, or pro-life, theorists argue that it is wrong to induce abortion and it is wrong to allow others to perform induced abortion. However, evidence suggests that spontaneous abortion kills far more fetuses than induced abortion, and critics argue that most pro-life theorists neglect the threat of spontaneous abortion and ought to (...)
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  • Within the Limits of the Defensible: A Response to Simkulet’s Argument Against the Pro-Life View on the Basis of Spontaneous Abortion.Henrik Friberg-Fernros - 2018 - Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (11):743-745.
    In a recent article, William Simkulet has argued against the anti-abortion view by invoking the fact that many human fetuses die from spontaneous abortion. He argues that this fact poses a dilemma for proponents of the anti-abortion view: either they must abandon their anti-abortion view or they must engage in preventing spontaneous abortion significantly more than at present—either to the extent that they try to prevent induced abortion or at least significantly more than they do today. In this reply, I (...)
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  • Cursed Lamp: The Problem of Spontaneous Abortion.William Simkulet - 2017 - Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (11):784-791.
    Many people believe human fetuses have the same moral status as adult human persons, that it is wrong to allow harm to befall things with this moral status, and thus voluntary, induced abortion is seriously morally wrong. Recently, many prochoice theorists have argued that this antiabortion stance is inconsistent; approximately 60% of human fetuses die from spontaneous abortion, far more than die from induced abortion, so if antiabortion theorists really believe that human fetuses have significant moral status, they have strong (...)
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  • The Problem of Spontaneous Abortion: Is the Pro-Life Position Morally Monstrous?Bruce P. Blackshaw & Daniel Rodger - 2019 - The New Bioethics 25 (2):103-120.
    A substantial proportion of human embryos spontaneously abort soon after conception, and ethicists have argued this is problematic for the pro-life view that a human embryo has the same moral status as an adult from conception. Firstly, if human embryos are our moral equals, this entails spontaneous abortion is one of humanity’s most important problems, and it is claimed this is absurd, and a reductio of the moral status claim. Secondly, it is claimed that pro-life advocates do not act as (...)
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