The central thesis of philosopher David Boonin is that the moral case against abortion can be shown to be unsuccessful on terms that critics of abortion can and do accept. Critically examining a wide array of arguments that have attempted to establish that every human fetus has a right to life, Boonin posits that all of these arguments fail on their own terms. He then argues that even if the fetus does have a right to life, abortion can still be shown to be morally permissible on the critic of abortion's own terms. Finally, Boonin considers a number of arguments against abortion that do not depend on the claim that the fetus has a right to life, including those based on the golden rule, considerations of uncertainty and a commitment to certain feminist principles, and asserts that these positions, too, are ultimately unsuccessful. The result is the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion that has yet been written. David Boonin is professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado. He is the author of Thomas Hobbes and the Science of Moral Virtue (Cambridge, 1994).
1. Framing the debate; 2. The conception criterion; 3. Post-conception criteria; 4. The good Samaritan argument; 5. Non-rights-based arguments.
"I have never read a better examination of all the arguments that have been raised against abortion. Nor have I read a better series of counter arguments against each of these arguments." Rosemarie Tong, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
"This book is a truly wonderful piece of applied analytic moral philosophy. It considers an extremely important issue and reasons carefully, clearly, cleverly, and convincingly. The set of arguments surveyed is so complete that there is something for virtually anyone with any stake in the issue--philosophers, religious persons, feminists.... By refuting all arguments for the claim that abortion is not permissible, on grounds that the abortion critics themselves can accept.... The book is so overwhelmingly genuine and convincingly argued."