David Boonin-Vail. In her article, “A Defense of Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thomson defended the following thesis: the impermissibility of abortion does. David Boonin has written the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion yet published. Critically examining a wide range of. Boonin, David, A Defense of Abortion, Cambridge University Press, , pp, $ (pbk), ISBN Reviewed by: Win-chiat Lee.

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Critically examining a wide array of arguments that have attempted to establish that every human fetus has a right to life, Boonin posits that all of these arguments fail on their own terms.

I thought this was the most rational and academic defense of abortion I’ve read. Jul 15, Sofia rated it it was amazing. But either one will suffice as a case against the rights-based critics of abortion.

David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion – PhilPapers

The overall conclusion of the present arguments is that it is difficult to morally justify the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome without also permitting the killing of infants with Down syndrome. Similarly, Thompson thinks that a woman has the right to abort a fetus even though one assumes, for the sake of argument, that it would lead to the death of another person since the aim would be to avoid the burden of pregnancy rather than to kill the fetus.

Ditching religion and reality.

The possibility of infants being born without having been conscious means that they also can be born without having been sentient or having had desires. This criterion is also problematic, however, because differentiating between the fetus and the infant based solely on where they are located seems unjustifiable.

The result is the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion that has yet been written. The fetus lacks a right to life as long as it lacks consciousness, which is why abortion is permissible according to such criteria up to, at least, week The violinist, as the story goes, will need this arrangement for nine months in order to live.


A Defense of Abortion

However, given that a very small percentage of abortions is performed late in pregnancy, and given that fetuses with Down syndrome are seldom diagnosed before week 12, even as a very high percentage of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, I believe that this category of late abortions is of special interest. Stretton – – Journal of Medical Ethics 34 Would that not be impermissible? The reason why the GS argument cannot be used to justify the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome is rather that such an action would be impermissible under the premises of its own argument.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Boonin’s treatment of the arguments of the critics of abortion is thorough, judicious, and careful. Paperbackpages. In that case, a disconnection would obviously be morally impermissible. Debora Diniz – – Developing World Bioethics 7 2: Thanks for telling us about the problem.

The central thesis of philosopher David Boonin is that the moral case against abortion can be shown to be unsuccessful on terms that critics of abortion can and do accept. Her situation is therefore different from that of a person who, through a voluntary act, creates a dependency of another existing person on her. However, as I have tried to demonstrate, it might be hard to find external criteria that are able to provide a general justification for the differentiation between fetuses with Down syndrome and unconscious or non-viable infants.

Carrie rated it liked it Jun 02, As long as the intention to secure the death of the violinist is an essential element of the decision to disconnect oneself, I believe that the decision would be impermissible.

A Defense of Abortion // Reviews // Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews // University of Notre Dame

As these views are less often defended than those discussed above, I offer no full refutation of them, but I believe that some of the arguments against the consciousness-based criteria are relevant also in relation to them see below. Recall that some of the previously discussed parameters are too implausible—i.

Differentiating abortion and infanticide by external criteria So far, I have focused on different ways of trying to justify abortion that do not lead to the conclusion that infanticide might also be permissible. Despite the widespread acceptance of such abortion, most people still overwhelmingly reject the infanticide of those with Down syndrome if that diagnosis is made only after birthraising the question of how defensr reconcile these beliefs.


Brit Steiner marked it as to-read Jun 26, Want to Read saving…. No trivia or quizzes yet. This is a very impressive book. This organized cortical brain activity criterion is what Boonin endorses in Ch. Please try again later. The book is accessible and thorough.


To be as analogous as possible to the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome, I assume that the reason she decided to stay connected to the violinist in the first place was that she expected the future existence of the violinist to be more beneficial than burdensome to herself. With new prenatal testing, will babies with Down syndrome slowly disappear? For instance, he spends almost ten pages defending the violinist metaphor from what he calls the “weirdness objection”: In other words, one cannot use these criteria to differentiate between abortion and infanticide because they permit both actions.

If there is any fault in his treatment of the critics’ arguments, it is probably that he has bent over backwards to be charitable in some cases. Journal of Church and State.

Boonin winds up on the right side of the discussion, but I find the silence on these theories really troubling. Here Boonin invokes Judith Jarvis Thomson’s famous argument in defense of abortion that appeals to an imaginary situation as an analogy. The most helpful account of moral permissibility Boonin offers is the following: Drfense example, fetal viability is used to justify abortion while, at the same time, justifying the rejection of infanticide.