Abortion, ethics


In the fall of 1971, Philosophy & Public Affairs published an essay by feminist moral philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson that would have the entire nation talking. Her piece soon became one of the most widely cited and reprinted essays in the Western world, and one of the most influential essays on the issue of abortion. In her essay, “A Defense of Abortion,” Thomson undertook the seemingly impossible task of explaining why, in her view, it is morally permissible to abort a human fetus even if the fetus is granted the status of personhood. The essay has received both support and recognition from many pro-choice ethicists, clearly seen just by virtue of the article’s overwhelming popularity. Yet prominent Australian-American ethicist and moral philosopher Peter Singer finds the argument to be deeply and irredeemably flawed. Some may be puzzled to know that the same scholar that believes that both infanticide and euthanasia are obvious necessities also believes that the most prominent abortion argument in history is an extremely weak one.



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