The Problem of Fetal Pain and Abortion: Toward an Ethical Consensus for Appropriate Behavior

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 22 (3):263-287 (2012)
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Abstract

This essay concerns what people should do in conflict situations when a doubt of fact bears on settling whether an alternative under consideration is legitimate or not. Its principal audience are those who believe that abortion can be legitimate when not having an abortion gives rise to serious harms that can be avoided by having one, but who are concerned that fetuses might feel pain when being aborted, and who believe that causing unnecessary pain should be avoided when doing so would not pose an undue burden. The essay remains neutral on the substantive questions of the moral status of the unborn and the morality of abortion. The question of fetal pain has taken center stage in the last few years in the ..

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