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Taking LifeThree Theories on the Ethics of Killing$
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Torbjorn Tannsjo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190225575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190225575.001.0001

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(p.164) Chapter 8 Abortion
Taking Life

Torbjörn Tännsjö

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts off by asking the question of whether it is morally permissible for a woman to have an abortion when she feels that she doesn’t want to take care of her unborn child. The two deontological strands give rise to different verdicts on this issue. On the Sanctity-of-Life Doctrine abortion is wrong. On Kantianism abortion is all right. In this Kantian verdict the moral rights theory concurs. Utilitarians have a hard time telling in the individual case whether an abortion is right or wrong. Utilitarianism also implies what Derek Parfit has nicknamed the repugnant conclusion. It is argued that the repugnant conclusion is in fact acceptable, and this sheds light on the moral issue of abortion.

Keywords:   abortion, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Michael Tooley, population ethics, repugnant conclusion, Derek Parfit

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