Tag Archives: abortion

William Lane Craig

The idea that a developing fetus is part of the woman’s body is so biologically ignorant that I would call it medieval, except that would be to insult the medievals! The fetus is not like an appendix or a gall bladder. From the moment of its conception and implantation in the wall of the mother’s uterus, the fetus is never a part of her body, but is a biologically distinct and complete living being which is, in effect, “hooked up” to the mother as a life-support system. To say a fetus is part of a woman’s body is like saying that a person on life support is part of the iron lung or the intravenous equipment. Having an abortion is not like having an appendectomy. It is killing a separate human being, and to try to justify that on the grounds that a woman can do what she wants with her own body is just politically correct ignorance.

William Lane Craig, Hard Questions, Real Answers, Wheaton, 2003, pp. 118-119

Dan Moller

When earlier versions of this paper were presented (initially in 2003), the author discovered, to his amazement, that audiences varied quite consistently in their receptiveness depending on whether the central example was abortion or vegetarianism. The hostility to philosophical arguments raising a problem specifically with abortion was palpable. Perhaps this is due to intrinsic features of the arguments, or perhaps it is related to the lack of cognitive diversity in many philosophy departments.

Dan Moller, ‘Abortion and Moral Risk’, Philosophy, vol. 86, no. 3 (July, 2011), p. 426.

Jeff McMahan

[A]lthough I defend the permissibility of abortion and thus welcome the introduction of the abortion pill, I do not believe the debate should end until we have the kind of intellectual and moral certainty about abortion that we have about slavery. It is important to notice that the ostensible victims of abortion—fetuses—are not parties to the debate, while of those who are involved in it, the only ones who have a significant personal interest or stake in the outcome are those who would benefit from the practice. There is therefore a danger that abortion could triumph in the political arena simply because it is favored by self-interest and opposed only by ideals. We should therefore be wary of the possibility of abortion becoming an unreflective practice, like meat eating, simply because it serves the interests of those who have the power to determine whether it is practiced.

Jeff McMahan, The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life, Oxford, 2002, p. viii

Simon Blackburn

I’m very suspicious of the professional ethical scene, which I think has to concentrate on issues of often obsessive importance to certain kinds of middle-class Americans. For example, you find probably 10 articles in the ethical journals on the rights and wrongs of abortions for one article you find on the distribution of resources to healthcare, for example, between the poor and the rich, which seems to me a far more important problem: the fact that the rich command all the health resources available. So, if I were to become a first-order moralist, on these matters, I’d become a first-order political theorist. It seems to me that actually the fundamental moral problem faced in the world is the distribution of wealth. It has nothing to do with whether women should have control over their bodies, or if we should be allowed to red pornography, or whatever might be. These things are side shows. The real ethical issues are the different life-expectancies in different countries, and the different access to the necessities in life [for different] people.

Simon Blackburn, ‘Quasi-Realism in Moral Philosophy, ethic@, vol. 1, no. 2 (December, 2002), p. 114

Gore Vidal

[E]very candidate of the party that votes is being forced this year to take a stand on abortion, and if the stand should be taken on law and not on the Good Book, the result can be very ugly indeed for the poor politician because abortion is against God’s law: “Thou shalt not kill.” Since this commandment is absolute any candidate who favors abortion must be defeated as a Satanist. On the other hand, any candidate who does not favor capital punishment must be defeated as permissive. In the land of the twice-born, the life of the fetus is sacred; the life of the adult is not.

Gore Vidal, ‘The Real Two-Party System’, in United States: Essays, 1952-1992, New York, 2001, p. 953