Children, Fetuses, and the Non-Existent: Moral Obligations and the Beginning of Life

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (4):379–393 (2021)
  Copy   BIBTEX


The morality of abortion is a longstanding controversy. One may wonder whether it’s even possible to make significant progress on an issue over which so much ink has already been split and there is such polarizing disagreement (Boyle 1994). The papers in this issue show that this progress is possible—there is more to be said about abortion and other crucial beginning-of-life issues. They do so largely by applying contemporary philosophical tools to moral questions involving life’s beginning. The first two papers defend the pro-life view from recent objections involving miscarriage and abortion doctors. The third shows how the social model of disability and the concept of transformative experience applies to classic debates like abortion and euthanasia. The final two papers address how rights and harms apply to children and to beings that do not yet exist. All five papers make a noteworthy contribution to the moral issues that arise at the beginning of life.

Similar books and articles

The moral status of babies.Andrew McGee - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5):345-348.
Having a life versus being alive.T. Kushner - 1984 - Journal of Medical Ethics 10 (1):5-8.
‘After-birth abortion’ and arguments from potential.Justin Oakley - 2013 - Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5):324-325.
Abortion and the Beginning and End of Human Life.Don Marquis - 2006 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 34 (1):16-25.
Abortion and Assent.Rosamond Rhodes - 1999 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 8 (4):416-427.
The Two tragedies argument.William Simkulet - 2019 - Journal of Medical Ethics 45 (5):304-308.
Anti-abortion Laws and the Ethics of Abortion.Gustavo Ortiz Millán - 2019 - In Eduardo Rivera-López & Martin Hevia (eds.), Controversies in Latin American Bioethics. Springer Verlag. pp. 11-32.


Added to PP

590 (#22,627)

6 months
93 (#23,828)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Elizabeth Jackson
Toronto Metropolitan University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Practical Ethics.Peter Singer - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Susan J. Armstrong & Richard George Botzler.
Transformative Experience.Laurie Ann Paul - 2014 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
A defense of abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability.Elizabeth Barnes - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

View all 58 references / Add more references