A critique of “the best secular argument against abortion”

Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (10):727-731 (2008)
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Don Marquis has put forward a non-religious argument against abortion based on what he claims is a morally relevant similarity between killing adult human beings and killing fetuses. He asserts that killing adults is wrong because it deprives them of their valuable futures. He points out that a fetus’s future includes everything that is in an adult’s future, given that fetuses naturally develop into adults. Thus, according to Marquis, killing a fetus deprives it of the same sort of valuable future that an adult is deprived of in being killed and this makes abortion seriously wrong. Commentators have raised a number of objections to Marquis’s argument, to which he has satisfactorily responded. In this paper, difficulties with Marquis’s argument that have not been considered by previous commentators are pointed out. A main thesis of this paper is that Marquis does not adequately defend his argument against several important objections that he himself has raised. These new considerations support the view that Marquis’s argument is unsuccessful



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Citations of this work

A critique of the 'fetus as patient'.Anne Drapkin Lyerly, Margaret Olivia Little & Ruth R. Faden - 2008 - American Journal of Bioethics 8 (7):42 – 44.
Abortion: Strong's counterexamples fail.Ezio Di Nucci - 2009 - Journal of Medical Ethics 35 (5):304-305.
Strong's objections to the future of value account.Don Marquis - 2011 - Journal of Medical Ethics 37 (6):384-388.

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References found in this work

Why abortion is immoral.Don Marquis - 1989 - Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):183-202.
An argument that abortion is wrong.Don Marquis - 2007 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Ethical Theory: An Anthology. Blackwell. pp. 439--450.
Does a Fetus Already have a Future-Like-Ours?Peter K. McInerney - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (5):264.
Does a fetus already have a future-like-ours?Peter K. McInerney - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (5):264-268.

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