Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Morality and legality of abortion
The morality and legality of abortion are controversial topics. A woman's decision to have an abortion encompasses issues of health, welfare, religion, law, social structure, and free will. The nature and effect of the procedure are compared against the dangers and burdens of carrying the fetus to term. Morality and legality are a subset of these questions, and are studied and used rhetorically by all sides to sway the feelings of lawmakers, voters, clerics, protesters, doctors, and, ostensibly, pregnant women.
The morality and legality of abortion is an important subject in applied ethics and is also discussed by legal scholars and theologians. Important facts about abortion are also researched by sociologists and historians.
Abortion has existed in most societies, although it has often been opposed by institutionalized governments and religions. Until the 19th century, abortion before "qickening" (the time when the fetus begins moving around, approximately the second trimester) was legal in many western countries including the US. In the 20th century abortion was once again legally accepted in most of Europe and in the United States. In some European countries, such as Germany and Spain, abortion is illegal even in the first trimester, although prosecution typically does not occur. Abortion is legal, accepted and even sometimes encouraged in China, India and other populous countries.
The Catholic Church remains opposed to the procedure, however, and in certain countries, notably the United States and the (predominantly Catholic) Republic of Ireland, the controversy is still extremely active, to the extent that even the names of the respective positions are subject to heated debate. While those on both sides of the argument are generally peaceful, if heated, in their advocacy of their positions, the debate is sometimes characterized by violence.
The central dilemma
The central dilemma in the abortion debate is the clash of presumed or perceived rights. On one hand is the child's right to life, and on the other is a woman's right to control her body. One aspect of the issue involves defining when a fetus becomes a person, and gains the legal and/or moral right to life. Even if that could be agreed upon, that right must be weighed against the rights of the mother.
How can these respective rights be balanced?
The extreme "pro-life" argument is that an embryo (or, in later staged of development, a fetus) is a human life— entitled to protection—from the moment of conception and, possessing a right to life that must be respected. By this argument, abortion under any circumstance is the legal and/or moral equivalent of murder and should be treated as such.
The extreme "pro-choice" argument is that a woman's right to control her pregnancy always outweighs any right claimed for the fetus up to the moment of birth, and that the decision to terminate the pregnancy (i.e. have an abortion) is solely at the discretion of the pregnant woman.
Outside of the extremes, balance can sometimes be reached on certain issues. For instance, some "pro-life" advocates do not consider contraceptive drugs (such as the morning-after pill) to be abortion, though while these drugs usually work by preventing conception, they can also work by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. Also, many "pro-life" advocates tolerate abortion in cases where the mother's life or health are at stake or in cases of rape or incest. "Pro-choice" advocates often accept a ban on abortions of "viable" fetuses – that is, those that are sufficiently developed to survive outside of the mother's womb if delivered. While there is some disagreement as to when a fetus is viable and what constitutes viability, the general consensus is that 24 weeks is a significant milestone of development.
Underlying this debate is another, over the role of the state: to what extent should the state interfere with a woman's pregnancy to protect the public interest, or to what extent should the state protect the general interest, even if it means controlling a woman's pregnancy? This is a major issue in a number of countries, such as India and China, which have tried to enforce forms of birth control (including forced sterilization), and the United States, which historically has limited access to birth control.
The many and varied positions about abortion
The competing labels for positions tends to blur over important differences in what can be advocated about abortion. In discussions of abortion it is of paramount importance to distinguish the variety of conclusions that can be advocated on the subject. First, consider the unequivocal positions:
- Abortion is always morally permissible.
- Abortion is always immoral (morally impermissible).
- Abortion ought to be legal in every instance.
- Abortion ought to be illegal in every instance.
There are also several more qualified positions about abortion, which represent mid-ground between the relatively extreme positions that abortion is always moral, or never, and that it should always be legal, or never. That is, the qualified positions are that abortion is sometimes moral and at other times not, and in some cases it should be legal and in other cases not. Examples of these positions are:
- Abortion in the first trimester (or before the embryo or fetus is viable outside the womb) is morally permissible; abortion after that time is immoral.
- Abortion in the first trimester (or before the embryo or fetus is viable outside the womb) ought to be legal; abortion after that time ought to be illegal.
- Abortion up to the third trimester (so-called late-term abortion) is morally permissible; in the third trimester, it is immoral.
- Abortion up to the third trimester ought to be legal; in the third trimester, it ought to be illegal.
- Abortion should always be illegal, except in some special circumstances—for example, when the mother's long-term health or life is at stake, when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when the infant is deformed or likely to be born disabled.
The last position represents a point of serious controversy among abortion foes, who feel that, in those cases where the completion of a pregnancy would likely result in severe permanent physical injury or death for the mother, abortion is morally permissible and/or should (continue to) be legally permitted. Some oppose even this exception, however. Similarly, when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, the situation created—where the mother is bearing a rapist's child, or her close relative's—is regarded as so morally repugnant that there is no moral obligation, and should be no legal obligation, to continue the pregnancy. Again, some people will not make an exception even in such cases. Some justify this with the severe depression, anxiety, and regret women may experience post-abortion, or by saying that the child has the right to be born regardless of the circumstances of conception.
Situation in the United States
In many countries, but most strikingly in the United States, the scientific, religious, and philosophical communities have remained polarized on most of these issues.
The political debate tends to center on questions of legality, though such debates are often based on moral questions. In the United States, the political debate centers on two questions:
- Should "partial-birth abortions" (or "Intact dilation and extraction") for medical reasons related to the mother's health  continue to be legal?
- Should first-trimester abortions on demand continue to be legal? In the United States on a federal level, this is tantamount to asking, "Should Roe v. Wade continue to be supported?"
As of November 5, 2003, United States President George W. Bush signed into law the "Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act" which makes it illegal for anyone to perform the procedure. However, some abortion practitioners represented by the ACLU have already filed a lawsuit protesting the law. So, at present, the question still has a viable political life in the United States.
The second question is a matter of deep concern for many, but the chances of Roe v. Wade being overturned are low at present. Related issues such as requiring parental consent for minors, waiting periods, and education, are also in contention in some states. Other questions, such as federal funding of abortions, and acts such as the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" also are in contention in the United States.
The controversy over abortion remains a very emotionally charged issue, and difficult to resolve.
 The issue is actually more complicated than this, as opponents to a "health of the mother" exception contend that legally this would create a loophole legalizing any abortion. These opponents also claim that the procedure which is being banned is never necessary to preserve a woman's health.
Briefly, the basis of the view that all, or almost all, abortion should be illegal is the belief that the life of a person—and all political rights attending it—begins at conception. Given that, one is invited to consider the common assumption that each innocent person is entitled to the protection of society against the deliberate destruction of its life by another person. The latter is a rough statement of the right to life, which is guaranteed in many basic legal and political documents such as the United States Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is the basis of laws against murder. Thus, the pro-life view is that elective abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent person and therefore not morally justifiable, regardless of the law. But since the law should be consistent with morality, elective abortion ought to be regarded legally as murder. Again, this is the basic argument against the legality of abortion. There exist people who morally disapprove of abortion but who, for other reasons, deny that abortion should be legally proscribed. This will be explained below.
One could also oppose the legality of abortion on nonreligious grounds, which is a strategy employed by those who believe that their personal religious considerations have no proper place in public policy debate, or should play only a limited and qualified role. One could say, for example, that the proposition that all humans are persons and that because a human life begins at conception so too does personhood—and the moral rights that entails. This is a genetic view of "human life" which begins with the union of parental gametes that creates a new individual with a distinct genetic identity, initiating the process that ends with death. Proponents of this view recognize that there is a period of several months during which the child is biologically dependent upon the mother to sustain its life, but they regard the obligation of a parent to protect the life of its child as one which ought to be an uncontroversial societal norm. Opponents argue that biologists are by no means unanimous in their agreement about when a human life begins. Other views of the human identity place the beginning of human life at later time. For example, one embryological view holds that individual human life begins when an embryo no longer is capable of forming twins, approximately 12 days after conception. However, apart from possibly abortifacient forms of birth control and the morning after pill, all abortions happen after the 12 day point since it is only around then that pregnancy becomes detectable, the latter point seems irrelevant to the question of abortion.
Those who believe that abortion is morally permissible, and should remain legally permissible, typically have a different view of the issue as to when a human becomes a person that deserves a right to life. Many hold that an embryo or fetus which is incapable of surviving outside the mother's womb (a status generally reached no sooner than 17 weeks into gestation) is not recognizable as a human life separate from the mother's body, while others hold that human life starts with the development of a nervous system. Those opposed to abortion at any stage counter by saying that it is arbitrary when an embryo or fetus is to be considered a separate human life, and that future technology may make it possible for a human life to develop entirely outside of a mother's body. Others argue that a fetus does not have the capacity for thought, self awareness, etc. required for personhood and thus does not have a strong right to life, in line with common treatment of animals and severely brain damaged (vegetative) humans.
For those who believe that abortion should be legally permissible (regardless of its morality), one of the most common arguments is based on privacy rights. Abortion rights advocates hold that a woman's right to determine what happens with her body (including whether to carry a pregnancy to term) is private, is not to be interfered with by outside influences, and negates all rights of her offspring. See the Thompson argument in the next section.
Another common argument is political pragmatism. Where abortion is illegal, some women nonetheless seek to end their pregnancies and will resort to unsafe methods that endanger their own lives—so-called "back-alley" abortions. Since modern medical testing makes it possible to estimate early in pregnancy whether a child might be born with severe defects, some abortion rights advocates also argue that requiring such children to be born would be an unnecessary burden on society as well as the parents—and might even be an immoral offense to the children themselves. This, however, raises another contentious moral issue, that of "selective" abortion, where parents might choose to terminate a pregnancy based on desired traits of the child (such as sex) that can be determined before birth.
Some abortion rights advocates point to global population pressures which many hold responsible for endemic hunger, overcrowding, and environmental impacts; they believe that making abortion illegal would result in further such pressures and would exacerbate these problems. They also sometimes refer to the difficulties and often miseries experienced by the children and their mothers, when the mothers are often single and impoverished. An increase of children born to such situations could result in an increase in social ills, including increases in crime, broadening of the population base of those living below the poverty line, and ballooning of the state welfare rolls. A related argument holds that the lower birth rates brought about by legal abortion result in fewer people competing for the jobs that are available, thus reducing the unemployment rate and creating labor shortages that drive up wages, particularly for the lowest-paid workers. Abortion opponents observe that a related rationale led China to adopt its "one child" policy, which has led not only to increased abortions and sterilizations, but also to live baby daughters being secretly abandoned in hopes that the next child will be a son. When the answer to social ills is to reduce the number of people, the argument goes, other even less palatable ways of reducing existing populations may begin to look attractive as well. Abortion opponents also point out the abortion proponents rarely suggest killing infants and toddlers as a solution to hunger, overcrowding, and environmental impacts. In response those that favor legalization of abortion point out that sex selection is possible in the United States but no preference for either sex is seen, rather families generally choose balanced sex ratios—sometimes using abortion to achieve this result. Moreover, most advocates of abortion rights believe that babies are persons and thus infanticide would be immoral.
Philosophical argumentation on the moral issue
Contemporary philosophical literature contains two kinds of arguments for and against the morality of abortion. One family of arguments holds that the issue can be settled without considering personhood: whether abortion is morally permissible or not does not depend on whether the embryo and fetus are persons. Another family holds that what is of essence is the question of personhood.
In favor of moral permissibility, regardless of personhood
Judith Jarvis Thompson in her celebrated article argues that if one were to find oneself suddenly attached to another, adult human being, and in such a position such that, if one were to remove oneself, that other person would die, it is by no means clear that one would be obligated, morally or legally, to continue to be attached to that person. Her most famous case is that of the violinist. A famous violinist needs the use of your kidneys. Without consulting either you or the violinist, the Society of Music Lovers kidnaps you and hooks you up to the violinist, so that your kidneys are doing the job of his. In nine months it will be possible to disconnect the violinist with him surviving. Right now, however, disconnection will result in his death. Thompson thinks it is clearly permissible to disconnect oneself from the violinist even though she admits that this would be a killing. Thus even if the fetus has full personhood, abortion is permissible in some circumstances.
Abortion opponents find this argument unconvincing since the mother would only be "temporarily" attached to another human being—it is not as if the woman would be forced to be attached to the other indefinitely. Moreover, even if the attachment was permanent, from a legal and moral standpoint the argument given by Thompson is arguably fallacious. Using conjoined twins as an example, for one twin to remove him or herself from the other when the known consequence would be death for the other is indeed considered murder legally and morally. (See Himma 1999 for discussion of this point). Also, given the logic used, the adult human being the woman suddenly finds herself attached to would possess as much right as the woman to detach him or herself from the woman even if the woman dies as a result. Also against this argument the objection is frequently made that in about 99 percent of all cases (rape and incest account for about 1 percent) it was, after all, the mother who made a choice which caused an embryo to become attached to her, and therefore the analogy is imperfect. Others respond by modifying the analogy, arguing that women who become pregnant unintentionally were certainly not choosing to become attached to a fetus, and thus have a right to abortion.
Furthermore, some argue that there is a disanalogy between cases like that of the violinist and that of pregnancy. Many medical ethicists see a difference between ordinary and extraordinary care. To withhold ordinary care, such as food and water, from a patient is simply to kill the patient. But by the Principle of double effect, it can be morally permissible to withhold extraordinary care, e.g., medical treatments so expensive that a number of other lives could be saved by using the same money, if one does not intend the patient to die. What one needs to receive in normal life circumstances, such as food and water, always counts as ordinary care (though this does not exhaust ordinary care: medical procedures that are easily available and cause no harm to anyone are ordinary care). Since a normal life includes nine months in the womb, what the fetus receives is argued to be ordinary care. On the other hand, the abnormal burden placed on the person to whom the violinist is connected is to be extraordinary care.
When personhood is discounted, then it may be appropriate to consider the difference between "human life" and "other life". On what grounds, besides selfishness, when personhood is disregarded, can it be stated that one human life is inherently more important than the lives of all the plants and animals that will perish to feed, clothe, and shelter that one human life? To the extent that the answer is "none", when personhood is disregarded, then that is the extent to which humans are not more important than other living things, and thus abortion is as morally permissible as the swatting of a mosquito. Nature doesn't care in the slightest; the next giant meteor that arrives won't dodge the Earth just because human life is present, any more than the dinosaur-killer dodged the Earth.
Against moral permissibility, regardless of personhood
Don Marquis in a seminal article argues that even if the fetus is not a person, abortion is generally morally impermissible. To get to that conclusion, he starts by analysing what it is that makes the murder of an adult human being wrong. Killing an adult human deprives that adult human of a future. That is, after all, what killing is: the deprivation of future life. Killing is a paradigmatic case of a crime that is wrong because of the harm it imposes on the victim, and the harm is this deprivation of future life. If one believes in the permissibility of capital punishment one may add the qualifier that the victim has to be juridically innocent for the imposition of this harm to be wrong, but since the fetus is not juridically guilty, it is not necessary to discuss this qualifier further.
If what makes killing one of us adults wrong is that it deprives us of our future, then killing a fetus is equally wrong, Marquis concludes. For killing a fetus deprives the fetus of "a future like ours". This deprivation is what made murdering you and me wrong. If that which makes killing you and me wrong is present in the case of abortion, it follows that abortion is wrong. Observe that the question of personhood is irrelevant. In fact, if the fetus is not a person, then the fetus is deprived of more and hence harmed more—the fetus is deprived of a chance to live as a person.
More precisely, if the argument is sound, it follows that abortion is wrong in all the cases in which the fetus would have a future such that killing an adult with that future would be wrong. Thus, if involuntary euthanasia of patients with a future filled with intense physical pain is morally acceptable, aborting fetuses whose future is filled with intense physical pain will also be morally acceptable. Note that it will not do here to invoke the fact that some fetus's future would involve such things as being raised by an unloving family, since we do not take it to be acceptable to kill a five-year-old just because her future involves being raised by an unloving family.
A powerful response to the Marquis argument is that the ovum and sperm have the same future as the fetus does. Hence, just as it is wrong to deprive the fetus of its future, it is wrong to deprive the ovum and sperm of their future. Therefore, the Marquis argument is claimed to imply the equal wrongness of contraception, which is meant to be a reductio ad absurdum (note that those who think contraception is wrong do not generally think it is as wrong as murder, so the reductio would seem to work for them, too). Marquis rejects the claim that his argument has such a conclusion. He says that it is not possible to point out which sperm is being deprived of a future through contraception—there are millions of competing sperm, and no one particular one can be pointed out as "the one" which is being deprived. Opponents, however, may note that if one were to see a particular sperm approaching a particular egg, preventing their union would still either not be wrong or at least not as wrong as murder.
Recently, a variant of the Marquis argument has taken on some popularity (see, e.g., Gomez-Lobo's Natural Goods). This variant is based on a slogan like "You were once a fetus". The argument claims that we adult human beings are the same individuals that once were fetuses. Our mothers may talk of the time when we were in their wombs, and this all seems perfectly natural. One can then argue with Marquis that the essential harm imposed on one of us by killing is the deprivation of future life. If we were killed before birth, the victim would still have been the same entity, the same organism. The harm would be the same or greater (since more future life would have been lost). If the harm is the same and the victim is the same, and the victim is no less (indeed, perhaps, more) innocent, then surely the deed is just as wrong. Therefore, the argument concludes, it would be just as wrong to kill us before birth as after birth.
A crucial element in the argument is the claim that the same entity that once was a fetus is now you. One way to argue for this claim is as follows. The fetus in your past was a living organism. This organism is either alive now or is no longer alive now. If this organism is no longer alive now, then at some point it died. But the fetus never died. Throughout its career in the womb, it was growing, increasing its abilities, and did not undergo any transformation that would count as a "perishing". Nor did birth kill the fetus. Hence that organism that was once the fetus you developed from has not died. Where, then, is that organism to be found? Surely the right answer is that it is precisely where you are: you are that organism. Consequently, the fetus and you are the same organism, at different stages of development.
Opponents of this version of the argument are likely to distinguish between two entities that are in the same place as you are. There is the animal or organism, on the one hand, and the person, on the other. This is counterintuitive: surely you are both an organism and a person, rather than you being a person and the animal being something else. If you are an organism and the fetus is the same organism as you are, then you and the fetus are the same individual.
A different kind of opposition to both this and the Marquis argument is to claim that what makes murder wrong is not just the deprivation of a future, but the deprivation of a future that one has an interest in. The fetus has no interest in its future. Hence, to kill it is not wrong, the opponent concludes. The defender of Marquis-style arguments may, however, give the counterexample of the suicidal teenager who takes no interest in his or her future, but killing whom is nonetheless wrong and murder. If the opponent responds that one can have an interest in one's future without taking an interest in it, then the defender of the Marquis-style argument can claim that every being objectively has an interest in that being's future even if the being takes no interest in it.
While a crucial premise in Marquis' argument is that the human fetus has a "future like ours", and hence is different from a whale or a mosquito, he does not explain exactly why a future like ours matters. He simply assumes it with no supporting rationale. Those who agree that a future like that which you and I will have is of deep value, a value of a kind different and greater than that of a whale or a mosquito, will be untroubled by this assumption. At the same time, philosophically, querying the source of this value is of deep interest. The concern here is that when personhood is disregarded, his results apply equally to whales and mosquitos as to humans. However, defenders of Marquis will -- in spite of the fact that his argument is supposed to be entirely independent of the concept of personhood -- insist that he can avail himself of considerations of personhood. For, our future life would be the life of a person, and if a fetus has a future like ours, then that fetus's future life would also be the life of a person. Since it is the future life that the argument is rooted in, it is irrelevant to the argument as Marquis presents it whether the fetus now counts as a person or not.
Mary Anne Warren, in her famous article arguing for the permissibility of abortion, begins by criticizing Thompson's violinist argument as only applicable in cases of rape. Warren holds that moral opposition to abortion is based on the following argument:
- It is wrong to kill innocent human beings.
- The fetus is an innocent human being.
- Hence it is wrong to kill the fetus.
Warren, however, thinks that "human being" is used in different senses in (1) and (2). In (1), "human being" is used in a moral sense as meaning "person". In (2), "human being" means "biological human." That the fetus is a biologically human organism or animal is indisputable, Warren holds. But it does not follow that the fetus is a person, and it is persons that have rights, such as the right not to be killed.
To help make a distinction between "person" and "biological human", Warren notes that we should respect the lives of highly intelligent aliens, even if they are not biological humans. She thinks that there is a cluster of properties that characterize persons:
- developed reasoning capacities
- something like free will
- communication on an indefinite variety of topics
- individual or communal self-awareness
A person does not have to have each of these, but if something has all five then it definitely is a person whether it is biologically human or not, while if it has none or only one then it definitely is not a person, again whether it is biologically human or not. The fetus has at most one, consciousness (and only after it becomes susceptible to pain—the exact timing is not yet agreed on), and hence is not a person.
Alfonso Gomez-Lobo has also claimed that Warren's criteria beg the question: she has simply listed the qualities that adult human beings have, and noted that fetuses do not have them, without showing that these qualities are what makes for the right to life. Nonetheless, it seems plausible that applying something like Warren's criteria would be how we would figure out if it was acceptable to kill members of an alien species.
Some critics also point out that infants (indeed up to about one year of age, since it is only around then that they begin to outstrip the abilities of non-human animals) only have one of these characteristics—consciousness—and hence have to be accounted non-persons by Warren. Warren explicitly agrees with this conclusion in later writing, but denies that the conclusion leads to morally repugnant conclusions such as the general permissibility of infanticide. For, Warren claims, once a human being is born, there is no longer a conflict between it and the mother's rights, since the human being can be given up for adoption. Killing such a human being would be wrong, not because it is a person, but because it would go against the desires of many people willing to adopt the infant and to pay to keep the infant alive. Nonetheless, Warren grants that her argument implies that infanticide is morally acceptable under some circumstances, such as those of a desert island. Opponents of her argument can claim that this concession in itself provides a reductio ad absurdum of the argument.
Opponents argue that the sense in which the properties apply to a comatose adult human being is also not completely clear. This is probably an area for further philosophical development on both sides.
Moreover, opponents of the Warren argument may argue that if it is these qualities that make the life of a human being valuable, then this may be thought to suggest that a human being that has these qualities to a greater extent is deserving of greater respect while one that has them to a lesser extent is deserving of lesser respect. After all, most of the qualities listed are on a continuum, admitting of lesser and greater degrees. Furthermore, this continuity makes the exact point at which personhood ensues be something vague, and human beings around that point, say between one and two years of age, will have a shadowy moral status. If one thinks that there are no shadowy moral statuses, then this will be a reason to reject the argument.
Those who argue that abortion is morally impermissible can argue that what matters is not that one be actually exhibiting the five qualities Warren identifies, but that one have in oneself a self-directed genetic propensity to develop the qualities, and a fetus has that. Alternately, one might argue that a person is an individual that normally exhibits these qualities at some point of its life, even if it does not actually exhibit them because of not having developed them (embryo, fetus) or having lost them (Alzheimer's). In this way, the opponents of the permissibility of abortion can try to make use of the arguments in the previous section to the effect that the human fetus is the same entity as is later a human adult. If one grants that claim, and if one thinks that personhood is an essential property, one that one has throughout one's existence and cannot gain or lose, then one will accept that the fetus is a person.
When discussing the concept of personhood, according to some thinkers, it is possible to make a distinction between the person and the human body in which that person resides. One could liken the body as a kind of "vehicle" in which the person travels from place to place. (The concept of personhood is so important that all mere physical attributes of a body can be ignored. Whether whole or handicapped, albino or violet, Earth-born or alien, biological or cyborg or purely robotic, the body-as-vehicle is overshadowed by the concept of personhood.) Looking out through the eyes is like looking out through a wind-shield, and accidents, of course, are to be avoided. Like any other vehicle, the body requires proper maintenance, and it is known that for an adult human body a certain amount of sexual activity is healthful. This of course can lead to the special situation of pregnancy, in which biological machinery manufactures more biological machinery -- a new vehicle, that is. When personhood is regarded, much of the argumentation over abortion actually pivots on the question of whether or not the new-vehicle-under-construction is occupied by a driver. If one identifies the presence of a "driver" with the existence of someone who exhibits consciousness at present, the available evidence indicates that the answer is negative early on. Prior to the point of the appearance of consciousness, therefore, arbitrary termination of the construction project is not the killing of a person, and hence may be morally permissible.
- Abortion law
- Abortion and Evangelical Christians
- Religion and abortion
- See person for a discussion of personhood.
- Slogan:A woman's right to choose
- Slogan:Human life begins at conception
- Pro-Life Campaign Committee
- Pro-Life Action
- Prayer for Life
- Abortion no.org
- The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
- NARAL Pro-Choice America
- Planned Parenthood
- Quotations About Abortion
- National Abortion Federation
- Medical Students for Choice
- Choice USA
- Pro-Choice Public Education Project
- Pro-Life Campaign Committee News
- Consistent Life
- Feminists for Life
- Don Marquis, “An Argument that Abortion is Wrong,” in John Arthur (ed.), Morality and Moral Controversies, 5th Ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999)
- Jane English, “Abortion and the Concept of a Person,” Canadian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 5, no. 2 (October 1975)
- Judith Jarvis Thomson, "A Defense of Abortion," Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 1, no. 1 (1971)
- Kenneth Einar Himma, “Thomson’s Violinist and Conjoined Twins,” Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, vol. 8, no. 4 (Fall 1999)
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