Christian Bioethics 27 (2):140-157 (2021)

Stephen Napier
Villanova University
The respect for one’s conscience is rooted in a broader respect for the human person. The conscience represents a person’s ability to identify the values and goods that inform her moral identity. Ignoring or overriding a person’s conscience can lead to significant moral and emotional distress. Refusals to respect a person’s conscientious objection to cases of killing are a source of incisive distress, since judgments that it is impermissible to kill so-and-so are typically held very strongly and serve as central moral commitments in one’s moral identity. I think it is wrong for a college basketball coach to pay his players, but I think it is really wrong to kill people. This article argues that any and all arguments for not respecting a conscientious objection to abortion commit a deontic fallacy. Briefly, arguments for the permissibility of abortion are structurally such that abortion is at best permissible, not obligatory. Now, arguments to justify overriding or ignoring a person’s objection to performing action must understand action as being obligatory. Thus, arguments for ignoring conscientious objections to performing abortion are incongruent with the actual philosophical justifications for abortion. Such arguments, then, commit a deontic fallacy.
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DOI 10.1093/cb/cbab007
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References found in this work BETA

A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
Abortion and Infanticide.Michael Tooley - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (1):37-65.
Why Abortion is Immoral.Don Marquis - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):183-202.
Deontic Logic.G. H. von Wright - 1951 - Mind 60 (237):1-15.

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