Permitting Abortion and Prohibiting Prenatal Harm

The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 4:182-190 (1998)
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I argue that there are four solutions to the apparent contradiction of permitting abortion while prohibiting prenatal harm: there are other grounds both for condoning abortion and condemning prenatal harm which are not contradictory; there is a continuum of personhood or body; there is a continuum of rights; one can distinguish between the potentially born and the preborn on the sole basis of the woman’s intent to carry the fetus to term and give it birth. The fourth solution enables a consequentialist approach to assessing abortion and prenatal harm, such that permitting the former while prohibiting the latter is not contradictory.



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