Interests in Abortion
A New Perspective on Foetal Potential and the Abortion Debate
This title was first published in 2000: Ever since Michael Tooley published his article on "Abortion and Infanticide" in 1972, the abortion debate has revolved around questions such as: "What is a person?"; "What is it that gives persons the right to life?"; and "Is it wrong to kill potential persons?" This study defends a position that accepts elements from both the liberal and conservative tradition. Following Tooley, Tracie Martin understands personhood in terms of psychological states and agrees that early foetuses who lack the relevant mental states are not persons. While this might seem a victory for the liberal tradition, Martin then goes on to provide an empirically-based argument for the view that by 24-weeks gestation foetuses have acquired the relevant characteristics that provide strong grounds for thinking that it is directly wrong to kill such foetuses.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Potential and physical dependence; Foetal physiology and active potential; Active potential and foetal psychology; Personal identity and the human foetus; Potential persons and interests; Moral asymmetry; The practical consequences; Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.
’...This is an important book that should be read widely. I have great pleasure in recommending it not only to philosophers and bioethicists, but also to health care professionals and public policy makers.’ Helga Kuhse, Monash University, Australia ’...a fertile mix of philosophical arguments and an impressive array of empirical evidence...written in a clear and understandable manner, this could be useful for all those interested in the abortion debate.’ Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics '... a fine product that combines philosophical reasoning with biological and psychological data to discuss the issues of abortion and the moral status of the foetus. It is a carefully argued and well-documented work. By focusing on the 'dynamic nature of the unborn human's development', it offers a systematic and sophisticated philosophical defence for the moderate position of abortion in the face of challenges from both conservatives and liberals, especially liberals. Anyone who takes the abortion issue seriously should read this book.' Bioethics