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Abortion and Unborn Human Life, Second Edition

Patrick Lee

Publication Year: 2012

Patrick Lee surveys the main philosophical arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of abortion and refutes them point by point. In a calm and philosophically sophisticated manner, he presents a powerful case for the pro-life position and a serious challenge to all of the main philosophical arguments on behalf of the pro-choice positio

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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p. vii-vii

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Preface to the Second Edition

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pp. ix-xi

Since 1996 when the first edition of this book appeared, the debate about the morality of abortion has not subsided. From the standpoint of philosophy many issues have become clearer. In my judgment, the course of the debate has confirmed the position I defend in this book, namely, that ...

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p. xiii-xiii

I would like to thank Benedict Ashley, John Crosby, Mark Hurley, Brian Johnstone, Albert Moraczewski, David Solomon, and Mary Catherine Sommers for reading earlier versions, or parts of earlier versions, of this work and for helping me by their suggestions ...

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pp. 1-7

Several questions arise in the controversy about abortion. Some of these questions pertain primarily to public policy, for example, whether abortion should be illegal, or whether any abortions should be governmentally funded. These questions are distinct from, but obviously related to, the primary ...

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1. Do Unborn Human Beings Become Persons after Birth?

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pp. 8-46

The position examined in this chapter could be called “the no-person argument.” This is the position that, while what is killed in an abortion is a human being, it is not a person and therefore abortion is not morally wrong. Since bearers of rights are called “persons,” the same position could be ...

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2. Do Unborn Human Beings Become Persons during Gestation?

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pp. 47-70

In the last chapter I criticized the position that the human organism becomes a person only after birth. Its proponents grant that every person has full moral rights, but they require some developed psychological capacity in a thing for it to be classified as a person. In this chapter I examine and ...

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3. When Do Individual Human Beings Come to Be?

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pp. 71-107

Having argued in chapter 2 that human beings are intrinsically valuable from the time that they come to be and in chapter 1 that, since they are essentially physical organisms, human beings come to be at the time at which the human physical organism comes to be, in this chapter I address the ...

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4. Is Abortion Justified as Nonintentional Killing?

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pp. 108-139

In this chapter I examine the argument that abortions, or many abortions, are morally right because they are not intentional killing, or, as it is often described, indirect, as opposed to direct, killing. As I shall explain, this is an accurate way of describing the positions of, for example, Judith Jarvis Thomson ...

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5. Consequentialist Arguments

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pp. 140-164

I argued in chapters 1 through 3 that abortion is the killing of a human person. In chapter 4 I argued that abortion is usually intentional killing, and that if it is not, it is still morally wrong. One might grant, however, that abortion is the intentional killing of a human person, but still hold that ...

Works Cited

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pp. 165-171


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pp. 173-177

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218069
E-ISBN-10: 0813218063
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813217307
Print-ISBN-10: 081321730X

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 2nd ed.