Abortion and Virtue Ethics

  • Mathew LuEmail author
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 111)


What can contemporary virtue ethics say about the problem of abortion? In what follows I attempt to answer that question by considering both what has been said and what we may further argue from a virtue-focused perspective. We begin by comparing virtue ethics to the two other dominant approaches in normative ethics. I then consider what some important virtue ethicists have said about abortion in particular, especially Rosalind Hursthouse. After recognizing the many contributions her analysis offers, I also note some of the deficiencies in her approach, particularly in her attempt to bracket the problems of fetal status and women’s rights. Finally, in light of these criticisms I attempt to extend a virtue ethics analysis to embrace a more robust recognition of the humanity of the fetus and the attendant demand of a near absolute prohibition on abortion.


Natural Kind Moral Status Virtue Ethic Normative Ethic Virtuous Person 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of St. ThomasSt. PaulUSA

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