Abortion as a test of moral theory

Since beginning to look seriously at morality, I’ve found that abortion is the most difficult issue to address. It forces us to ask basic questions about moral status, the value of life, personal interests, etc. It also forces us to acknowledge and confront our emotional reactions, which are usually very strong in this area (try keeping a cool head while reading about a recent argument in support of after-birth abortion).

Consequently, I think any university course in ethics should require students to formulate a thorough argument for, or against, abortion. In fact, they should be required to do so more than once, in order to see how their views change over time.

Recently, my thoughts on abortion have prompted me to restructure my entire moral system, an effort I hope to complete in the coming weeks. I’ve also started reading Peter Singer’s controversial “Practical Ethics“, and I think I can see how his argument for abortion is going to unfold. I’ll post a little more about this as my reading continues.

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One Response to Abortion as a test of moral theory

  1. L.Long says:

    After birth abortion is hardly new it has been practiced thru the ages by many cultures. The most famous is the Chinese doing away with girl babies. But there are many instances of parents getting rid of unwanted babies by leaving them for the wolves….any good anthopology101 class.
    It is basically illegal in this and most countries. But i can see a reason if the birth shows a VERY badly damaged fetus which will die a horrible death with in a few years. I would rather have the life terminated in a kind fashion then a painful lingering death ‘just cuz!’. And no it would not be easy and no I would not like to see it done to any but I would not like to see it suffer ‘just cuz!’.
    And yes if needed I could make that decision.

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