The Morality of Abortion

  • Richard B. Brandt


The term “abortion” is used in this discussion to refer to deliberate removal (or deliberate action to cause the expulsion) of a fetus2 from the womb of a human female, at the request or through the agency of the mother, so as in fact to result in the death of the fetus but with insignificantly small risk to the life or health of the mother. The question I raise is roughly whether abortion in that sense is morally wrong. I am not raising the question whether abortion should be prohibited by law. That is a very different question, and I am confining myself to the moral issue. There is another question I am not raising: whether a fetus should be removed, irrespective of the preferences of the mother, when there is good reason to think the child will be seriously defective, mentally or physically. Since it is a grave responsibility to bring a human being into the world, I think this latter is an important question; but I do not propose to discuss it here.


Prima Facie Moral Rule Important Sense Moral System Sentient Creature 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

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  • Richard B. Brandt

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