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TooleyAbortionInfanticide - esp.567 8 Naples Edizioni le J...

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, esp. 567 8. Naples: Edizioni le, J. M. 1979.Life and Death ice, pp. 401 7. South Bend, IN, Dame University press. s of Great Bitain. 1980.Abor_ Liae, para.2l. London: Cath- rint Committee on Bio-ethical lrning-after pill: some practical about post-coital,contracep_ -9. int Committee on Bio-ethical rning-after pill - a reply. Brief_ wtal Diagnosis: Confrontingthe 88. London: Linacre Centre. bristian .Moral Principles, pp. lranciscan Herald press. 89. IVF: The Critical Issues. love. tnt Committee on Bioethical tp Fertilisation; Morality and . Abingdon: Joint Committee poctrine of the Faith. 19g7. ton on respect for human life in yity of procreation. London: r.
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Michael Tooley a morally reletant difference betr,veen a newborn baby and the earlier stage in the development of a human being. Precisely the same difficulty can, of course, be raised for a person who holds that infanticide is morally permissible. The conservative will ask what morally relevant differences there are be- tween an adult human being and a newborn baby. What makes it morally permissible to des- troy a baby, but wrong to kill an adulti So the challenge remains. But I will argue that in this case there is an extremely plausible answer. Reflecting on the moraliry of infanticide forces one to face up to this challenge. In the case of abortion a number of events - quickening or via- bility, for instance - might be taken as cutoff points, and it is easy to overlook the fact that none of these events involves any morally signifi- cant change in the developing human. In contrast, ifone is going to defend infanticide, one has to get very clear about what makes something a person, what gives somerhing a right ro life. One of the interesring ways in which the abortion issue differs lrom most other moral issues is that the plausible positions on aborrion appear to be ex- treme positions. For if a human fetus is a person, one is inclined to say that, in general, one would be justified in killing it only ro save rhe life of the molher.z Such is the extreme conser\ative Dos- ition.l On the orher hand, if the ferus is nor a person, how can it be seriously wrong to destroy it? Why would one need to point to special circum- stances to iustify such actionl The upshot is that there is no room for a moderate position on the issue ofabortion such as one finds, for example, in the Model Penal Code recommendations.4 Aside from the light it may shed on rhe abortion question, the issue ofinfanticide is both interesting and important in its own right. The theoretical interest has been mentioned: it forces one to face up to the question of what makes something a person. The practical importance need not be labored. Most people would prefer to raise children who do not suffer from gross deformities or from severe physical, emotional, or intellectual handi- caps. If it could be shown that there is no moral obiection to infanticide the happiness of society could be significantly and justifiably increased.
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