Beyond Roe: Why Abortion Should be Legal--Even if the Fetus is a Person

Category: Humanities
Author: David Boonin


by anonporridge   2022-05-13
You might be interested in this philosophical argument, "Beyond Roe: Why Abortion Should be Legal--Even if the Fetus is a Person".

From the book description...

> Most arguments for or against abortion focus on one question: is the fetus a person? In this provocative and important book, David Boonin defends the claim that even if the fetus is a person with the same right to life you and I have, abortion should still be legal, and most current restrictions on abortion should be abolished. Beyond Roe points to a key legal precedent: McFall v. Shimp. In 1978, an ailing Robert McFall sued his cousin, David Shimp, asking the court to order Shimp to provide McFall with the bone marrow he needed. The court ruled in Shimp's favor and McFall soon died. Boonin extracts a compelling lesson from the case of McFall v. Shimp--that having a right to life does not give a person the right to use another person's body even if they need to use that person's body to go on living-and he uses this principle to support his claim that abortion should be legal and far less restricted than it currently is, regardless of whether the fetus is a person.

So, the ethical and legal question of abortion is not just one of if or when the fetus is a full human deserving of equal protection under the law, but one of when it is legally permissible to coerce a person into having their body used to preserve the life of another. Answering that question the wrong way is a potential legal slippery slope for all people, not just fertile females.

As a person who was raised fiercely pro-life, these are the kinds of ethical, philosophical, and legal considerations that I was never taught. All you ever hear in that world is "It's a baby! Murderers!"

I am now fiercely pro-choice, but I still consider the question of abortion to be a difficult one with no easy answer. However, I fundamentally believe that one’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone, so even if you could prove to me that the fetus is conscious at the moment of conception, I would still never surrender a woman's right to sovereignty over her body.