Abortion and Self-Defense
Philosophy and Public Affairs. 1984 Summer; 13(3): 175-207.
Davis examines a view held in common by those she classifies as "restrictives," "moderates," and "permissives," that the right of self-defense justifies a pregnant woman's seeking an abortion when her life is at risk. While maintaining that abortion to preserve a woman's life is morally defensible, she argues that the doctrine of self-defense has been misapplied because the entitlement to self-defense has been misunderstood, and because the woman-fetus relationship precludes regarding the problem of abortion as simply a balancing of rights. She concludes that the defense of therapeutic abortion is neither straightforward nor unproblematic. (KIE abstract)