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Abortion 2013

October 29, 2013

Is the argument over?

For years I’ve tried to teach medical students about abortion. Not how to do one, or what the law says, but how to reason about it (click here and succeeding posts).

Twenty five years ago, students were fairly evenly split between pro-life and pro-choice. More recently the pro-lifers have been in the minority; I’ve had to work hard to support their side of the debate.  Last week, for the first time ever, not one student out of about 30 admitted to being pro-life. We still had a debate, me against the rest, but a Rubicon had been crossed.

Abortion used to be the area of moral philosophy where consensus, even on how to frame the argument, was impossible. Have we now moved on?  Have all intelligent and educated people reached consensus – permissible under a wide range of circumstances? Perhaps it’s time to end my student debates.

Jim Thornton

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom permalink
    October 29, 2013 1:21 pm

    Sadly Dr. Thornton I fear that this “consensus” is not the result of anything but an apathy in the face of serious thought or philosophical groundwork. Do these students know about Hume, Malthus, Singer etc? Or have they simply swallowed the decisions made by a liberal society without considering possible implications not just for the fetus but for the disabled, the infirm, the elderly and the dependent?

    These issues will all need to be revisited time and time again, especially as technologies enabling uterus transplants and in vitro gestation become reality (“ain’t no bottle in the world like that dear little bottle of mine”!).

    Please continue your debates! If they can’t at least argue with you in theory then we have problems.

  2. pureform 2000 permalink
    October 29, 2013 2:29 pm

    In China the argument is over because the Government took control of the

    issue and now Forces abortion on the population.

    In this country the argument should never be allowed to be over if that means

    the Government takes the power in the matter.


    Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2013 08:46:59 +0000 To:

  3. October 30, 2013 2:58 am

    Well, Jim, maybe you could back to non-therapeutic genital surgery on minors: bound to get at least one taker on each side!

  4. February 25, 2014 10:08 pm

    So why do we keep hearing that young doctors don’t agree with abortion?

    • February 17, 2015 7:58 am

      The title says “ethical grounds” but the article suggests that is just the excuse. Not glamorous or prestigious, and embarassing to admit to at the dinner party are more likely reasons.

  5. yboris permalink
    February 11, 2015 2:35 pm

    Reblogged this on YBoris.

  6. Troy Mcroberts permalink
    February 16, 2015 5:40 am

    The abortion debate revolves around definitions of what the thing in the womb is and pro-abortionists are all too happy to keep the debate there. The law is on their side. An embryo/fetus is not aborted because of what it is in the womb, it is aborted for what it becomes. The embryo/fetus moves inexorably toward all the stages of life that we as adults have experienced. The only difference between the killing of an adult and the killing of the thing in the womb is that one is only denied part of its life while the other is denied all of it.

    • February 17, 2015 7:50 am

      Richard Hare dealt with EXACTLY your criticism,Troy. He treated the fetus as important because of what it would become. But he treated the sperm and egg as important for the same reason. The end of his reasoning was still fairly “pro-choice”. I’ve summarised it here.

      You may disagree with his conclusions, but the argument has been addressed.

      • Troy Mcroberts permalink
        February 19, 2015 8:36 am

        I read the link that you have provided and I have also read his treatise on abortion based on the “golden rule”. I have come to the conclusion that this man is devoid of anything that would make humans anything better than an intelligent rock. This is the type of man that cannot understand art. cannot understand sacrifice, cannot understand anything that is beautiful about life. This type of man is not qualified to make life or death decisions.

        All you need to do is look in the mirror and see what abortion is killing. It’s really that simple.

        A sperm and an egg apart cannot become you. You are the result of your conception. If your fetus was killed than you were killed.

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