Abortion: The ‘Pro‐Death’ View

David Benatar

in Better Never to Have Been

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780199296422
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191712005 | DOI:
 Abortion: The ‘Pro‐Death’ View

Show Summary Details


The conclusions of the previous chapters are applied to the abortion question. Four kinds of interests are distinguished: functional, biotic, conscious, and reflective interests. It is argued that beings are morally considerable only when they have at least conscious interests. Because consciousness only arises in human foetuses quite late in gestation (around 28-weeks), people do not come into existence (in the morally relevant sense) until at least that time. Thus, given the harm of coming into existence, it is wrong not to abort a foetus in the earliest stages of gestation. The ‘pro-death’ argument is then defended against two famous arguments that abortion is wrong — Richard Hare's ‘golden rule’ argument and Don Marquis' ‘future-like-ours’ argument.

Keywords: abortion; interests; consciousness; foetus; golden rule; Hare; future-like-ours; Marquis

Chapter.  10392 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.