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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This percentage indicates that, considering only the European areas under examination, about infants were born with Down syndrome without parents being aware of it before birth.

However, for the sake of argument, I set aside this objection and assume that one can justify the position that the mere possibility of some kind of consciousness constitutes a right to life as early as in week One of its most prominent defenders, David Boonin, concludes that even though many believe it to be ingenious, most still consider it flawed.

A famous unconscious violinist. My argument is that none of these ways justifies the abortion of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome while simultaneously rejecting infanticide. While ultimately I disagree with Boonin’s conclusions, I am grateful for his contributions to the abortion debate. One option is to hold on to consciousness-based criteria or the viability criterion to justify the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome, and to accept infanticide under circumstances in which these criteria allow it.

This is not primarily because this argument is unable to differentiate between the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome and the killing of infants with Down syndrome, as is the case, as I have argued, with criteria based on consciousness and viability. But in Boonin’s view, this argument ultimately fails to show that the fetus has the right to life at conception.

There are, of course, other differences, but I will start by discussing adoption, and then make some general claims about this strategy to justify a differentiation between abortion and infanticide by invoking external parameters.

I do not see that the GS argument can provide any answer to that question; the mere fact that one human person is located within a womb while another person is outside the womb does not seem sufficiently plausible. Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals.


To this end, Boonin goes over a very large number of such arguments, organized around three themes, and shows how they all fail.

Roizen NJ, Patterson D.

Generally, there are three ways of justifying the differentiation between abortion and infanticide: While this book is really the most comprehensive of its kind, it is not a simple read. Joel added it Jan 11, According to this theory, fetuses are ensouled once there is a biological capacity to receive the soul. Secondly, it is conceivable that allowing abortion but not the infanticide of defensse with Down syndrome imposes a greater burden than allowing infanticide while not allowing abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome—despite the fact that adoption might be viewed as a less costly alternative to infanticide than to abortion.

One might try to defend criteria based on the existence of consciousness while still holding that infanticide is wrong by arguing that one cannot ddefense for sure that the fetus lacks consciousness before birth. Jul 04, Defese Stein rated it liked it Shelves: I begin with the following thought boonln. My claim is thus that proponents of the gradualist position are, if they want to justify aborting fetuses with Down syndrome, ultimately restricted to choosing among specific criteria of which those selected here are the most important.

Suppose it were impossible to diagnose fetuses with Down syndrome, such information being obtainable only after birth.

Archives of Disease in Childhood. Still, as I hope to demonstrate here, neither criterion can justify the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome due to its implausible implications.


The first kind focuses on the following difference: Not surprisingly, many objections to the good Samaritan argument are devoted to identifying some moral disanalogy between the case of the violinist and abortion. Journal of Medical Ethics. While I will not be able to accomplish a full-fledged defense of my position here, I boknin nevertheless provide reasons for why I believe that we should opt for the second position.

These arguments all start with the assumption that you and I have the right to life and then attempt to show that you and I are indeed related to the fetus in such way that it will be morally inconsistent for anortion not to treat the fetus as also having the right to life. Admittedly, the circumstances in which infanticide is permissible according to these criteria boobin rare.


By anesthetizing the fetus before the capacity for having desires arises, the possibility of unconscious desires is consequently eliminated.

David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion – PhilPapers

Therefore, if the fetus has the right to life at conception, then it must be due to the fact that it will come to possess later on the relevant properties you and I already possess. Reproductive Ethics in Applied Ethics. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? Instead, one might try to settle on the most plausible way of justifying abortion, and if that justification leads to the conclusion that infanticide is also permissible under certain circumstances, then seek other external parameters to differentiate infanticide from abortion.

Consequently, not only is consciousness at this fetal stage empirically uncertain, it is also uncertain what ethical relevance such consciousness should then be ascribed see [ ot18 ]. The moral significance of birth. A pro-choice response to Giubilini and Minerva. By adopting such decense conservative position, which would rule out the possibility that preterm-born fetuses could survive outside the womb, abortion could be justified while infanticide is rejected.

However, the gradualist position does not by itself define when abortion is impermissible and is therefore not offering any specific distinction between fetuses and infants that potentially could justify aborting fetuses with Down syndrome while rejecting infanticide cf. The Ethics of Killing: David Boonin has written the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion yet published.

Presumably this second kind of disanalogy does not distinguish between rape cases and non-rape cases. David Boonin University of Colorado, Boulder. Abortion and moral theory. Paperbackpages. Erin rated it really liked it Nov 27,