Christian Witness on Abortion: The Examples of Paul Ramsey and Stanley Hauerwas

Studies in Christian Ethics 27 (4):431-452 (2014)
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Paul Ramsey and Stanley Hauerwas are arguably the most prominent United Methodist thinkers to date to write extensively on abortion. This article takes up a ripe and illuminating task neglected by the ethicists themselves and the secondary literature: bringing their views on this issue into conversation. More specifically, this article discusses their considerations on the value of unborn human life, the “hard cases,” the church community’s role, and the place of legal reform. The article concludes by placing their remarks in the context of official Catholic teaching, and contending that despite some shortcomings in the two thinkers’ considerations, Christians on different sides of the abortion debate should incorporate these authors’ insights by expressing a “rational account of fetal development”, a charitable approach to hard cases, a “theological idiom”, and an appropriate level of political concern.



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The morality of abortion.Paul Ramsey - 1968 - In Edward Shils (ed.), Life or death: ethics and options. Portland, Or.,: Reed College. pp. 60.
Abortion: a review article.Paul Ramsey - 1973 - The Thomist 37 (1):174.
Casuistry as a Narrative Art.Stanley Hauerwas - 1983 - Interpretation 37 (4):377-388.

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