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Abortion Ethics 4

February 20, 2012

Religious arguments

Perhaps the previous posts made you cry out: “Wrong, just wrong!  The fetus is special because it has a soul, given by God from the moment of conception.”

You’d be right. Maybe God revealed this truth directly. Maybe your parents taught you. Maybe you got it from the Bible, Koran or whatever book guides you. It doesn’t matter. For you, abortion is equivalent to murder.

But it is a religious belief. It has its sphere. No adult should impose their religious belief on another. You’d hate to have someone else’s belief imposed on you. So your belief that abortion is murder is an excellent reason for you to forego abortion. But it’s a bad reason to prohibit an unbeliever, or a believer in a different tradition, from choosing one.

That’s all on personhood – the fetus is not a person, but religious people often disagree.

In Abortion Ethics 5, we try to bypass the person thing.  Is abortion justified, even if we’ve erred thus far, and the fetus is a paradigm person with all the privileges that go with that status?

Jim Thornton

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