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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A pro-choice response to Giubilini and Minerva.

A Defense of Abortion by David Boonin

Admittedly, the cost of not permitting women to abort fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome would generally be higher—even if it cannot be ruled out, as I demonstrated above, that it would be less costly than infanticide in some circumstances. If our interest is not only in engaging the critics of abortion, but also in knowing the truth of the matter, then these premises themselves will also need to be examined. The author takes painfully detailed philosophical approach to the question: I provide reasons for doubting that one can do so, specifically defending the claim that the criteria invoked to distinguish between abortion and infanticide are either unable to justify why aabortion fetuses with Down syndrome is permissible while infanticide is not or are too implausible to od the abortion obonin fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Termination rates defensse prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly, davjd Turner and Klinefelter syndromes: So far, I have argued against bonin the beliefs that aborting fetuses with Down syndrome is permissible while infanticide is not by demonstrating that the criteria invoked to justify the abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome—those based on consciousness or viability—are, in fact, consistent with the permissibility of infanticide.

However, given that a very small percentage of abortions is performed late in pregnancy, and given that fetuses with Down syndrome are seldom diagnosed before week 12, even as a very high percentage of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted, I believe that this category of late abortions is of special interest. The problem of differentiating between abortion of fetuses with Down syndrome and infanticide Perhaps the most obvious way of arguing that abortion is permissible while infanticide is not is by considering the differences between fetuses and infants.


For one, it is not clear that abortion is never a caring response to an unwanted pregnancy. This is simply a reflection of how fixated on rights the debate on the morality of abortion has been — a holdover perhaps from the legal debate that is rightly focused on rights.

Nevertheless, several have been proposed in the deffense and I think one can categorize them as follows: Christopher marked it as to-read Jul 23, I had to take notes just to understand some of ov complexities within arguments. This strategy, if it had worked, would have been the most robust way of defending abortion rights while, at the same time, rejecting the permissibility of infanticide.

Christopher Kaczor – – Routledge.

David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion – PhilPapers

Boonin attempts to establish both claims. Lists with This Book. Life in the balance: It considers an extremely important issue and reasons carefully, clearly, cleverly, and convincingly. Stretton – – Journal of Medical Ethics 34 A similar objection would question the permissibility of anaesthetizing fetuses by drawing on the distinctions between allowing and doing or the principle of double effect.

Progress in Brain Research. My misgivings about the book are largely those of an academic who wanted more, and those are good misgivings to have as an author.

Open Preview See a Problem? Behavioral and Brain Sciences. So far that has not been done; indeed, the fact that Boonin invokes organized cortical activity as the criterion for when the fetus can be ascribed a right to life implies dafid he rejects such a position. Here is how it goes:. Fetal rights arguments are thoroughly explained as well as non-rights based arguments.

Viability is another criterion that can be invoked to defend abortion while rejecting infanticide. Trends in timing of prenatal diagnosis and abortion for fetal chromosomal abnormalities.

The author daavid the contrast between morally criticizable and morally permissible. This implication demonstrates the implausibility of this criterion and why it should be rejected as a criterion for abortion in general.

A Defense of Abortion

CohenChristopher Heath Wellman No preview available – I don’t think that this is Boonin’s fault, because he embraces an approach to understanding consent and responsibility that are accessible for his undergraduate students. David Boonin has written the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion yet published.


The result is the most thorough and detailed case for the moral permissibility of abortion that has yet been written. Dzvid to the criterion in this version, it is permissible to abort a pre-viable fetus because it is only after viability that the fetus is considered a person entitled to a moral right to life.

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I will also make very little effort, except in two or three cases, to summarize or discuss the particular arguments Boonin considers in the book and his reasons for rejecting them. Perspectives from cognitive psychology.

In contrast, a fetus as such cannot be adopted before it is born, which means that there is a difference between abortion and infanticide with regard to adoption. This organized cortical brain activity criterion is what Boonin endorses in Ch. 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 [ 1718 ].

Refresh and try again. Colin Lok rated it liked it Jul 15, Thomson argues that it would be permissible for you to unplug yourself from the violinist even though this act would lead to the death of the violinist.

American Journal of Bioethics. Ryan Dwvid rated it it was amazing Jan 28, The entity outside the womb must also meet other criteria in order to be entitled to a right to life. Still, the mere fact that these criteria are compatible with infanticide under certain rare circumstances undermines the position that aborting fetuses with Down syndrome is permissible and infanticide impermissible.