One of the most frustrating aspects of discussions about abortion is the way in which they rapidly turn into a discussion of the status of the foetus and of whether destroying the foetus constitutes the taking of a human life. Since these latter questions seem difficult, if not impossible, to resolve upon rational grounds, frustration results. It therefore seems desirable to find aspects of the abortion problem that can be resolved independently of the status of the foetus problem. One such possibility is the question of whether there should be a law against abortions performed by licensed physicians upon the request of the mother (or perhaps the parents). There are, after all, many people who, while opposed to abortion on the grounds that it involves the taking of a human life, maintain that it would still be wrong (or at least inappropriate) for a state to legislate against such abortions. If their claim can be shown to be right, then we could at least resolve the legal problem about abortion. This paper is an attempt to assess their claim.
KeywordsHuman Life Wrong Action Significant Minority Pluralistic Society Innocent People
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