Killing, Letting Die, and the Mortality of Abortion
Journal of Applied Philosophy 2009 February; 26(1): 1-26
David Boonin, in his A Defense of Abortion, argues that abortions that involve killing the foetus are morally permissible, even if granting for the sake of argument that the foetus has a right to life. His primary argument is an argument by analogy to a 'trolley case'. I offer two lines of counterargument to his argument by analogy. First, I argue that Boonin's analogy between his trolley case and a normal unwanted pregnancy does not hold. I revise his trolley case in light of my objections. Second, I argue that Boonin's arguments for the permissibility of killing, when applied to this revised trolley case ? and by extension, typical unwanted pregnancies ? do not succeed in justifying killing.
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