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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Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. If you are pro-life, this book will challenge all your arguments and at least make you think of the issue differently.

From Human Rights to Sentient Rights. Concluding remarks 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. Abstract Although the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome has become commonplace, infanticide is still widely rejected.

However, by this line of reasoning, it is not birth per se that matters; rather, the defense of abortion with reference to the birth criterion instead collapses into the defense of abortion with reference to bodily rights.

For example, if some birth defects cannot be detected when the fetus is in the womb, or if such detection is highly risky when the fetus is in the womb, then it might be rational to keep the fetus unconscious until delivery in order to be permitted to choose whether or not to kill the infant. That discussion comes in two stages. Consciousness without a cortex, but what kind of consciousness is this? The earliest we can attribute any actual desire to the fetus is by the 25th week of gestation.


However, two other criteria are aborgion to differentiate between abortion and infanticide, namely, the criterion of birth and the argument of bodily integrity or the Good Samaritan argument. Brit Steiner marked it as to-read Jun 26, The thought here is that the mother does not have the option of bringing into existence a fetus without its being in a condition of having certain needs which only she can satisfy.


For sure, avoiding these inconveniences was not a sufficient reason for disconnection. But this also makes Boonin’s defense of abortion only as good as those premises that defnese critics can or do already accept. Nor have I read a better series of counter arguments against each of these arguments. He then argues that even if the fetus does have a right to life, abortion can still be shown to be morally permissible on the critic of abortion’s own terms.

In International encyclopedia of ethicsed. Abortion and moral theory. One such difference that has previously been invoked is the possibility of giving up an infant for adoption [ 35p.

Many ethical dilemmas arise due to our use of new technology. Veronica marked it as to-read Dec 05, One might also object that the gradualist position should be included in my selection.

This conclusion, however, clearly depends on the distinction between intended and foreseen effects of an action defended by the principle of double effect. Granting that this case is sufficiently analogous to the situation in which a fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome—which, for instance, means that it is assumed that the fetus has a right to life—and given that it is impermissible to intentionally secure the death of the violinist, the conclusion follows that abortion in that case would be impermissible.

A Defense of Abortion by David Boonin

Selected pages Title Page. One of my objections while reading this book was that Boonin treats right-to-lifers too gallantly, often giving their arguments more ddfense than they deserve, bending over backward in his effort to show that those arguments can be defeated on their own terms.

It could be that the individual aims to eliminate the existence of the violinist simply because he would be a burden to her if he survived.

Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Admittedly, the cost of not permitting women to abort fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome would generally be higher—even if it cannot be ruled out, as I demonstrated above, that it would be less costly than infanticide in some circumstances.


According to this theory, fetuses are ensouled once there is a biological capacity to receive the soul. I then turn to a third strategy for justifying abortion while rejecting infanticide.

A Defense of Abortion

This criterion is also problematic, however, because differentiating between the fetus and the infant based solely on where they are located seems unjustifiable. But either one will suffice as a case against the rights-based critics of abortion. That is, Boonin owes us an account as to why the duties that are neither based on or correlatives of other people’s rights can never rise to the same level of importance or seriousness as those that are.

However, if so, the implications must also be recognized, that is, fetuses can permissibly be anaesthetized in order to prevent consciousness and then killed after they have been born and a conjoined twin—dependent on his or her twin to survive—can permissibly be killed.

Apr 02, Clinton Wilcox rated it really liked it. The result is that he makes a lot of assumptions that are kind of tenuous to me, and I don’t think are consistent with the best philosophy, even at the time the book was published.

To some, the book might appear overly technical and long-winded, but it must be said that the complex nature of the issues surrounding abortion demands nothing less than the kind of meticulous analysis and rigorous reasoning that is present throughout Booin’s book.

It considers an extremely important issue and reasons carefully, clearly, cleverly, and convincingly.

A Defense of Abortion – David Boonin – Google Books

Boonin’s book is definitely an important contribution to the philosophical debate on abortion. It is hard to imagine that Boonin has left any deserving stone unturned on the subject. Jun 01, Ashley rated it it was amazing Recommends it aborton Carrie rated it liked it Jun 02,