Month: January 2020

A defense of abortion: bodily integrity, responsibility, and deprivation

The standard pro-life argument against the legalization of abortion is based on the premise that fetuses are persons, combined with the widely held view that it should be illegal to kill persons. Since abortions kill fetuses, it follows that abortions should be illegal. Roughly speaking, the standard pro-life argument can be given in syllogistic form as follows: (1) Fetuses are persons. (2) It should be illegal to kill a person. (3) Abortion kills a fetus. (4) [from 1 and 2] Therefore, it should be illegal to kill a fetus. (5) [from 3 and 4] Therefore, abortion should be illegal. I think a good argument can be given to show that premise 2 is false in the case of abortion. By “good” argument, I mean an argument based on principles that cohere with our shared considered intuitions better than principles supporting any pro-life conclusion. More specifically, I believe that premise 2 can be shown to be false from intuitions that even most pro-lifers hold.