1st Edition

Does the Pro-Life Worldview Make Sense?
Abortion, Hell, and Violence Against Abortion Doctors

ISBN 9781138307292
Published October 9, 2017 by Routledge
204 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

This book looks at a family of views involving the pro-life view of abortion and Christianity. These issues are important because major religious branches (for example, Catholicism and some large branches of Evangelicalism) and leading politicians assert, or are committed to, the following: (a) it is permissible to prevent some people from going to hell, (b) abortion prevents some people from going to hell, and (c) abortion is wrong. They also assert, or are committed to, the following: (d) it is permissible to use defensive violence to prevent people from killing innocents, (e) doctors who perform abortions kill innocents, and (f) it is wrong to use defensive violence against doctors who perform abortions. Stephen Kershnar argues that these and other principles are inconsistent. Along the way, he explores the ways in which theories of hell, right forfeiture, and good consequences relate to each other and the above inconsistencies.

Table of Contents


Section I: Hell

Chapter 1: Hell

Chapter 2: Hell and Abortion

Section II: Abortion-Doctors

Chapter 3: Forfeiture

Chapter 4: Forfeiture and Killing Abortion-Doctors

Chapter 5: Problems with Forfeiture

Section III: Abortion

Chapter 6: Forfeiture and Abortion

Chapter 7: Consequentialism and Abortion

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Stephen Kershnar is a distinguished teaching professor in the philosophy department at the State University of New York at Fredonia and an attorney. He is the author of seven books, including Gratitude toward Veterans: A Philosophical Explanation of Why Americans Should Not Be Very Grateful to Veterans (2014).


"By refuting numerous possible objections and attending to forfeiture theory, consequentialism, and the duty to save, the author masterfully points out logical contradictions in the pro-life worldview . . . A work in ethical logic, not theology, this is a serious, complex, and philosophically challenging contribution to the literature on the ethics of abortion. Summing Up: Highly recommended." – CHOICE

"Although while reading this monograph I often found myself disagreeing with Professor Kershnar’s arguments, this book is an important contribution to the abortion debate that no pro-life (or pro-choice) philosopher, serious about defending her position, should ignore." --Francis J. Beckwith, Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies, Baylor University and author of Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice