Taking Precautionary Concerns Seriously: A Defense of a Misused Anti-abortion Argument

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39 (3):228-247 (2014)
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Abortion critics have argued that one should err on the side of life and prohibit abortion since the status of the fetus is uncertain. David Boonin has criticized this precautionary argument, but his criticism has been ignored. The aim is to elaborate on the precautionary argument by responding to Boonin’s criticism. Boonin considers three versions of the precautionary argument—the disaster avoidance argument, the maximin argument, and the expected utility argument; yet all three are judged unsuccessful for the same reasons: they lead to unacceptable implications, they lead to conclusions that are too weak, and they undermine the integrity of moral reasoning. I respond to this criticism by arguing that one can avoid unacceptable implications by considering a criterion of realism, that the weaker conclusions are rather an advantage, and that the application of the precautionary principle makes room for considerations which maintain the integrity of moral reasoning. I also consider some criticism beyond Boonin’s objections



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Does respect for embryos entail respect for gametes?Alfonso Gómez-Lobo - 2004 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25 (3):199-208.

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