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Unformatted text preview: PHL 140 Liberman, Snedegar, Dallmann September 21, 2011 Abortion handout Central question: When should abortion be allowed? Always? Never? Sometimes? And if sometimes, when? Under what circumstances? There are really two questions here: 1) Is abortion morally permissible? 2) Should women have a legal right to have an abortion? (1) is a purely moral question; (2) is a question about law and public policy. The answers to these questions can come apart: its possible to answer no to (1) and yes to (2), or vice-versa. (Its also possible to answer yes to both or no to both.) Key moral considerations: Consequentialist considerations: what are the positive and negative consequences of Consequentialists think that all and only the consequences of an action matter for evaluating whether it is morally right or wrong. Rights-based considerations: Many arguments about abortion focus on the rights of the mother and the fetus. These theories hold that, regardless of the consequences, there are certain rights which just cannot be violated, and these show that abortion should/should not be permitted. Possible rights to consider: - fetuss right to life?- mothers right to chose what happens to her body?- mothers right to life/health in cases where the pregnancy is dangerous to her?- what might the fathers rights be, if any? The claim that the fetus has a right to life is often used to argue for the pro-life position. (We will review this in lecture.) What sort of beings have a right to life? Some proposals: - Biological humans have a right to life (Noonan argues that fetuses are humans and therefore have a right to life.) o Problem: possibly not broad enough o What if we discovered a fully rational alien who was...
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2012 for the course PHIL 140 taught by Professor Yaffe during the Fall '07 term at USC.
- Fall '07