The Moral Significance of Birth

Hypatia 4 (3):46 - 65 (1989)
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Does birth make a difference to the moral rights of the fetus/infant? Should it make a difference to its legal rights? Most contemporary philosophers believe that birth cannot make a difference to moral rights. If this is true, then it becomes difficult to justify either a moral or a legal distinction between late abortion and infanticide. I argue that the view that birth is irrelevant to moral rights rests upon two highly questionable assumptions about the theoretical foundations of moral rights. If we reject these assumptions, then we are free to take account of the contrasting biological and social relationships that make even relatively late abortion morally different from infanticide.



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Citations of this work

If Abortion, then Infanticide.David B. Hershenov & Rose J. Hershenov - 2017 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (5):387-409.
Rethinking Abortion, Ectogenesis, and Fetal Death.Christine Overall - 2015 - Journal of Social Philosophy 46 (1):126-140.
The Ethics of Prenatal Injury.Jessica Flanigan - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 18 (1):1-23.

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References found in this work

A defense of abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
Abortion and infanticide.Michael Tooley - 1972 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 2 (1):37-65.
The expanding circle: ethics and sociobiology.Peter Singer - 1981 - Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press.

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