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A Defense of Abortion Access and the Compatibility of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice

A response to the debate around abortion access and advocacy for a new propositional mindset on the topic


From left to right: Aristotle, Judith Jarvis Thomson, and Donald "Don" Marquis


By Joshua Peters

Since the United States Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, American society has been engaged in a fierce debate over abortion access. In the 1973 case, the Supreme Court ruled that restrictive laws to abortion access violated a woman’s right to determine the terms of when she can give birth. Many saw the Supreme Court’s ruling as a major victory for women’s rights and individual autonomy; however, others saw it as an affront to the sanctity of life.

Roe created a ripple effect by which state laws restricting access to abortion were unenforceable. Driven by cultural sentiments on the issue, pro-life advocacy groups mounted a fierce campaign against Roe in the hopes of overturning it. However, a pro-choice countermovement quickly emerged to defend it. Thus, a political and legal debate was born that pitted the right to life against a woman’s right to choose when to create life.

In the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling, the Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe by prohibiting states from restricting abortion access prior to fetal viability. While the pro-life movement was unable to overturn Roe under Casey, it caused the Supreme Court to shift away from some of the key legal tenets underpinning Roe, which in turn recharacterized the issue from that of privacy to personal liberty. Some legal scholars believe the ruling in Casey paved the way to overturning Roe as it demonstrated that the legal provisions supporting abortion access was resting on an unstable foundation insofar as the Constitution was concerned.

It turned out that these critics were correct. In 2022, the Supreme Court reversed Roe and Casey with the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, whereby the Supreme Court determined the Constitution does not confer a right to an abortion. Dobbs made it so that the question on abortion access goes back to the states to allow the voters to determine the legal provisions and requirements.

Dobbs, in a sense, turned the page on a nearly 50-year judicial question concerning abortion access. However, the political debate is not over. We have merely started a new chapter on the issue.

This essay will be an exposition into a brief history of abortion from a philosophical perspective and an evaluation of the leading arguments for and against abortion. My aim is to sketch a picture into what an abortion entails and to help establish a propositional mindset about abortion in general but specifically regarding access to the procedure and its moral permissibility, whereby the propositional mindset is rooted in common sense given the facts and circumstances of the situation. That is, I will argue abortion is prima facie amorally permissible if it is done sufficiently before the viability of the fetus and with exception in specific cases such as rape, unviability of the fetus, or the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life.

Aristotle and Abortion

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an abortion is an induced procedure to end a pregnancy via intervention or medication to remove the embryo or fetus from the uterus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Abortion Surveillance System, virtually all abortions are performed prior to fetal viability. Fetal viability is generally understood as the capacity of an infant born around 24 weeks of gestation to survive with medical and technological assistance.

Here, I would like to give a brief summation of the embryological process during pregnancy. A zygote is a eukaryotic cell that is formed at fertilization with the combination of the sperm and egg gametes. When the gametes combine, this is the moment of conception. The zygote quickly begins cell division to form the embryo. An embryo is the early stages of human development in the mother’s womb. After about eight weeks of development, the human embryo becomes a fetus. Between eight weeks and birth, the fetus is generally referred to as an infant in the mother’s womb. In everyday speech, we call the infant a baby.

Historically, it was often the case that when a woman became pregnant, she would be expected to see the pregnancy through regardless of the facts and circumstances of how she became pregnant. However, advances in modern technology and medicine have allowed women to pushback against the human condition imposed on them by evolutionary biology. Women now can control the type of life they wish to live in ways that have previously not been granted to them. But this newfound liberty has widened the Overton window to moral considerations around the personhood of the fetus, the fetus’ right to life, and the moral permissibility of abortion.

Abortion and the moral considerations around the procedure are not new, however. The procedure has been around for well over two millennia. Additionally, the question of life has been found to go hand in hand with the procedure of abortion insofar as philosophy is concerned.

Greek philosopher Aristotle (c. 384—322 BCE) is often referenced indirectly in the debate around the moral permissibility of abortion. From questions about the nature of the soul to embryology, Aristotle set the tone and the terms for the political debate around abortion during his lifetime and beyond. In his book Politics, he writes,

[W]hen couples have children in excess, let abortion be procured before sense and life have begun; what may or may not be lawfully done in these cases depends on the question of life and sensation.

This brief statement has been the guiding compass on the issue of abortion since Aristotle’s time. But what did Aristotle mean by “before sense and life have begun”? To understand this passage, we must first understand Aristotle’s concept of a soul. In the De Anima, Aristotle defines the soul in several passages as

[T]he first actualization of a natural body which possesses life potentially. … the substance corresponding to the account, and this is the essence of a particular sort of body. … the cause as the source of movement, as that for the sake of which, and as the substance of animated bodies. … a cause in the sense of substance.

These statements convey Aristotle’s conception of a soul as a particular sort of substance that is the source of animation, and it is the first actualization of a body that possesses life potentially. This basically means the soul animates life.

When Aristotle says, “the substance corresponding to the account”, he is referring to the logos (λόγος), which in Greek can be understood as an appeal to reason. So, the human soul is the substance that corresponds to reason, and for Aristotle this is the essence of our particular sort of corporeal nature which causes activities like movement, perception, desire, etc. Aristotle argues that sense-perception is what separates animals from plants, even though they both possess life, which he defines as “self-nutrition as well as growth and decline.” Conversely, reason is what separates humans from other animals. 

Aristotle believed the soul is the actualization of the body. The idea of actualization is discussed in depth in his book Metaphysics; however, he applies the concept in the same fashion when discussing the soul being the actualization of the body. Actualization takes on two distinctions in the case of potentiality and actuality. Aristotle illustrates this idea based on the following levels: (1) first potentiality: having a body capable of life; (2) second potentiality is equal to the first actualization: being alive; and (3) second actualization: performing conscious activities. Likewise, we can think of the levels of actualization applied to life developing in the womb. The first potentiality is the capacity for life to emerge (the sperm and egg gametes combining to form the zygote and develop into a baby). The second potentiality and first actualization are understood as the ability for life to emerge (the embryo develops into a fetus and reaches viability). The second actualization is the actuality of life (the baby is born).    

So, when Aristotle stated, “before sense and life have begun”, we can interpret this to mean before the first actualization of certain faculties have begun to develop. Aristotle gives an estimation in his book History of Animals as to when sense and life begin. He claimed it was 40 days in the womb for a male offspring and 90 days for a female offspring. We can suggest prior to this time Aristotle believed aborting the embryo or fetus was permissible; but after this time, it was contingent on law.

Aristotle’s account based on embryological development became an established doctrine between the 15th and 19th century due to the prevalence of scholasticism. Scholasticism was the philosophical project that attempted to combine Aristotelian philosophy with Christianity. One of the most influential figures of scholasticism, and champion of Aristotelian philosophy was Italian philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225—1274).

Christianity and Abortion

Much like Aristotle, Aquinas enjoyed the process of attempting to logically categorize the world to make sense of it. However, Aquinas had another interest in studying the Aristotelian method of deductive reasoning and categorization. Aquinas wanted to reconcile faith and reason. This desire to reconcile faith and reason led him to address discrepancies that emerged between Scripture and philosophy. Abortion was one such discrepancy.

In Summa Theologica, Aquinas delineates his views on the status of the embryo as being an inanimate life form in the same sense as that of vegetative life until it was “ensouled” at the moment of the “quickening”, which he took to be a version of Aristotle’s moment of animation in the mother’s womb but after 40 days for a male offspring and 80 days for a female offspring. While Aquinas does not affirm abortion as being morally permissible at any stage of the pregnancy, he does contend that once the embryo becomes a fetus and animated, it would be considered murder to have an abortion. Here, we see abortion corresponding to the perception of murder start to emerge out of the debate in a prominent way.

Aquinas helped to reinforce a Christianized version of the Aristotelian account of abortion in the West, but as we can see the tone concerning the matter has changed from what is legally permissible based on our understanding of embryology to the innate sanctity of life based on a scholastic interpretation of Scripture. By the late 19th century, Aquinas’ belief on the soul would no longer be viewed as adequate by the Church concerning abortion. In 1869, Pope Pius IX officially removed the distinction between the animated and unanimated fetus from the Code of Canon Law. This effectively moved the argument of ensoulment at the moment of the quickening to ensoulment at the moment of conception.

In the 20th century, arguments against abortion from the Church revert back to a more proper understanding of Aristotelian teachings insofar as ensoulment is concerned; however, the Church now emphasizes the nature of the soul as being the first actualization of a body that possesses life potentially. This turn by the Church is referred to as the advancement of the potentiality account. The potentiality account is essentially the view from Aristotle that the soul is the actualization of a body that possesses life potentially; however, it goes further into Aristotelian teaching by pulling in Aristotle’s idea that all things have a telos (τέλος), meaning proper ends. For instance, the proper end of an acorn is an oak tree.

The potentiality account against abortion typically goes something like this: if the proper end of gametes combined to form the zygote is life as a person, and the zygote has the potential to be a person, then it is morally wrong to have an abortion as it denies something its proper end. The potentiality account privileges the first potentiality (i.e., the moment of conception) above the first actualization (i.e., fetal viability).

Critics of the Church take issue with the potentiality account because it brackets the right of the woman to choose when to give birth and never revisit it. However, if the Church wishes to maintain Aristotelian philosophy, I do not think it can rely on the potentiality account to suggest that a woman is necessarily blameworthy for having an abortion. To support the position that she cannot be morally blameworthy of having an abortion, I turn to Aristotle who has a rich account of moral responsibility in general, and of blameworthiness in particular.

In his book Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle outlines a robust analysis of what is worthy of blame. Stating Aristotle’s analysis simply, he suggests blame is only appropriate when the behavior for which one is being blamed is voluntary. However, his voluntary approach to moral responsibility is predicated on two conditions being satisfied: what is voluntary must happen neither by force nor through ignorance. Aristotle says when something happens by force, its wrong-making feature is outside of one’s control. This is typically called the control condition in moral philosophy. While there are two conditions observed by Aristotle, I need only to consider one: the control condition. Because pregnancy is a biologically forced condition for women, pregnancy cannot be voluntary unless a woman intends to get pregnant, otherwise pregnancy is an involuntary event. Thus, a woman cannot be considered blameworthy if she decides not to proceed with a pregnancy caused by a biologically forced condition, which was not intended according to Aristotle’s account.

If the Church wishes to advance the potentiality account for the right to life of the fetus, to maintain that it is therefore morally wrong to have an abortion, it must reconcile their position with Aristotle’s moral blameworthy account, which affirms a woman’s right to choose on the matter. To affirm one account of Aristotle’s philosophical analysis and disaffirm another would be arbitrary.

Perhaps the Church would turn to Scripture to address their irreconcilable claim under the secular argument, invoking the text found in Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV): “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” However, this too is arbitrary, as the text found in Numbers 5:11-31 describes a ritual that could lead to divine intervention and cause the woman to miscarry. Again, the Church finds itself with two conflicting accounts.

Consequently, there is something to be said about the cogency of the potentiality account, which cannot be ignored. In my view, I believe there is a gap in the Aristotelian account insofar as abortion is concerned.

Contemporary Debate

Ending our philosophical discussion at this point would suggest that at a fundamental level the right to life and women’s rights are incompatible. The technical approach to the argument oriented around Aristotelian philosophy may not resonate with individuals outside of philosophy and theology. Additionally, I contend, it suggests that the two issues at hand are incompatible. Accordingly, we must look elsewhere to solve this incompatibility, if indeed it can be solved.

In the domain of politics, individuals are said to adopt either a pro-choice or pro-life stance based on ideological preferences that prioritize certain perceived individual rights. The core of the issue revolves around women’s rights and the right to life. It is from these two perspectives that we must contend with the issue of abortion.

American philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson (1929—2020) expands the discussion to consider women’s rights. In her essay, A Defense of Abortion, Thomson performs the same bracketing procedure to essentially ignore the potentiality account and proceeds to focus in on a woman’s right to “decide what happens in and to her body.”

Thomson takes the stance that drawing a line in the development of the fetus to demarcate what Aquinas would consider the vegetative state of inanimation and the animated state of the quickening caused by ensoulment is likely not going to be possible. So, Thomson is not going to offer us something akin to Aristotle’s 40 days in the womb for a male offspring and 90 days for a female offspring. Accordingly, she accepts the position that the fetus is probably a person well before birth.

Thomson challenges the presupposition that holds the fetus’ life should be prioritized over the mother’s life. She offers an analogy to illustrate the difficulty. Thomson ask us to imagine that you find yourself next to a famous unconscious violinist with a fatal kidney ailment the next morning after being kidnapped. The kidnappers surveyed all the medical records and found that you are the only person with the blood type to save the violinist, so during the night they plugged in the violinist’s circulatory system into yours to help save his failing kidney. The violinist needs to stay plugged into you for nine months; and to unplug the two of you will result in killing him. Thomson asks us to consider the moral implications of the situation. Is it morally permissible to unplug the violinist if to do so would kill him? Thomson wants us to maintain that this outrageous situation is the condition for which society has placed women under.

She draws our attention to the fact that you are kidnapped and forced into the situation to save the violinist. Here, she is connecting the analogy to the situation of being raped. Thomson’s main concern is that no exception is given for the case of rape because the arguments for life, particular those derived from the potentiality account, tend to bracket such outcomes and ignores a woman’s right to choose what to do under the circumstance. Accordingly, she believes abortion is permissible under such cases.

Thomson’s position should not be viewed as one which is indifferent to the life of the child. She is merely contending that there are reasonable exceptions which permit abortion. She does not maintain that abortion is always permissible. She explicitly rejects the idea that all decisions to have an abortion are morally on a par:

It would be indecent in the woman to request an abortion, and indecent in a doctor to perform it, if she is in her seventh month, and wants the abortion just to avoid the nuisance of postponing a trip abroad.

Accordingly, her defense for the permissibility of abortion is limited to three conditions: (1) the pregnancy is the consequence of rape, (2) the pregnancy creates an undue burden for the mother, or (3) the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.

Thomson is appealing to common sense with her position. She believes, much like Aristotle and Aquinas, albeit for different reasons, that a very early abortion is not killing a person. What she wants to establish with her defense of abortion is that abortion laws should be accommodating for morally reprehensible events like rape to give the victim a choice. If there is a line in her essay that encapsulates Thomson’s sentiments, then it is certainly this:

It allows for and supports our sense that, for example, a sick and desperately frightened fourteen-year-old schoolgirl, pregnant due to rape, may of course choose abortion, and that any law which rules this out is an insane law.

Thomson is persuasive in her appeal to common sense. In a way, she is returning to Aristotle’s more nuanced view of abortion. Moreover, she adds to the Aristotelian account for the permissibility of abortion by layering on compatible considerations for women’s rights, which is missing under Aristotle. 

While Thomson provides a much-needed response to the abortion debate from the perspective of women’s rights, she, unfortunately, does little to address the concerns that are often raised by her opponents around the moral responsibility of preserving the fetus’ life for which is innocent. Moral responsibility pertains to the responsibility that one bears for their actions or omissions, which are evaluated as morally praiseworthy or blameworthy based on their adherence to or deviation from their moral obligations. Moral responsibility entails that a moral agent has an obligation or duty to do the right thing rather than the wrong thing based on what typically counts as normative behavior, i.e., appropriate behavior defined by a religious doctrine, ethical standard, moral principle, etc.

Thomson’s brief reference to moral responsibility comes in the form of an argument against the parable of the Good Samaritan, whereby she opts for what she calls the Minimally Decent Samaritan. Her alternative view of the Minimally Decent Samaritan entails that people should not be compelled to be a Good Samaritan and that such laws or social norms are grossly unjust. While Thomson is correct in my view to say people should not be compelled to be a “Good Samaritan,” she fails to offer us a position for when we do have a responsibility, morally or otherwise, to care for the life of others and how that then translates into caring for the fetus for the duration of the pregnancy. She certainly does not believe all abortions are permissible, but she does not offer us a way to know when we do have a moral responsibility to defend the life of the fetus, especially since Thomson accepts the position that the fetus is likely a person and is conferred rights as such.

Thomson et al. contend that the potentiality account, however, should be ignored as it stems from a religious dogmatic assumption about the nature of life, and therefore should not be taken seriously. I disagree with this contention.

Imagine watching a talented young college basketball player. The fans love him. Sports analyst and commentators cannot get enough of him. All professional teams want him the moment he decides to go pro. Clearly this brilliant athlete has potential for greatness. However, during one game he suffers a career-ending injury. And watching this injury unfold in real-time, one can observe a sinking feeling that evokes a visible nausea in fans, coaches, commentators, and the other players seeing this young athletic genius incur a career ending injury. It is not the injury itself that everyone recoils from; rather, it is the fact that the injury has caused this gifted individual to lose his potential for greatness as a basketball player.

I will submit that concern about the potential for life to flourish is derived from an innate sentiment for the preservation of life, especially life forms with potential like ours and not necessarily from religious dogma.

While it is fair to say some arguments against abortion are rooted in religious dogma, it is not fair to ignore the fetus’ potential to have what American philosopher Donald Marquis (1935—2022) says is a future like ours.

In his essay Why Abortion is Immoral, Marquis sets out to demonstrate that abortion is “seriously immoral” and in the same moral category as killing an innocent adult human being.

Marquis brackets what I will call the Thomson defense for abortion to not contend with the “casuistry of these hard cases”. Instead, Marquis intends to focus on developing a “general argument for the claim that the overwhelming majority of deliberate abortions are seriously immoral.” What he intends to demonstrate is that it is always prima facie seriously wrong to end the life of a baby.

To break from the religious tradition against abortion, Marquis establishes a criterion for how to assess the arguments for and against abortion. He writes,

As everyone who has taken a bit of logic knows, if any of these arguments concerning abortion is a good argument, it requires not only some claim characterizing fetuses, but also some general moral principle that ties a characteristic of fetuses to having or not having the right to life or to some other moral characteristic that will generate the obligation or the lack of obligation not to end the life of a fetus.  

Here, stated simply, Marquis argues that the criterion is a moral principle that shows that the fetus’ characteristics entails an obligation to preserve its life. Marquis is structuring his argument around moral philosophy, which entails adherence to moral responsibility and moral obligation.

Marquis moves quickly and precisely to formulate the moral principles established by his opponents. He highlights two moral claims often used to support plausible moral principles by defenders of abortion: (1) being a person is what gives an individual intrinsic moral worth and (2) it is only seriously prima facie wrong to take the life of a member of the human community. From here, Marquis establishes that the approach he will employ will be to show that the moral principles of his opponents lose their plausibility under analysis.

The first issue Marquis notes about his opponents’ moral claims are that they are often too narrow in scope. Marquis suggests that his opponents intentionally design their arguments to ensure the fetus will not fall under it.

The problem with narrow principles is that they often do not embrace enough. Hence, the needed principles such as "It is prima facie seriously wrong to kill only persons" or "It is prima facie wrong to kill only rational agents" do not explain why it is wrong to kill infants or young children or the severely retarded or even perhaps the severely mentally ill. Therefore, we seem again to have a standoff.   

Marquis continues his logical tour de force by demonstrating his opponents do not have a stable foundation to support their moral claims. He addresses the possibility of his opponents reformulating their moral principle, appealing to social utility, redefining terminology, and positioning on ambiguous characteristics around personhood to demonstrate that the arguments for abortion, insofar as moral claims are concerned, lose their plausibility in establishing moral justification.

In the second section of his essay, Marquis introduces the proposition that it is wrong to kill us, whereby the pronoun ‘us’ is the object of preposition to reference me, you the reader, and others like us. Here, Marquis wants to make it personal. He is inviting us to think of the argument he is about to make as having a direct impact on us. From here, he sets off to give an account for why it is wrong to kill us. He ultimately concludes on the following position:

When I am killed, I am deprived both of what I now value which would have been part of my future personal life, but also what I would come to value. Therefore, when I die, I am deprived of all of the value of my future. Inflicting this loss on me is ultimately what makes killing me wrong. This being the case, it would seem that what makes killing any adult human being prima facie seriously wrong is the loss of his or her future.

Here, Marquis establishes that his proposition is supported by the intuitive belief that what makes killing wrong is the loss of the victim’s future. The claim here is that the loss of one’s future is the wrong-making feature rather than one being killed. Therefore, killing is wrong because it deprives the victim of the opportunity to fully experience a future within one’s biological temporal limits. Marquis suggest that this is the natural property that unifies us to believing killing is wrong.

When applying his future-like-ours account to the fetus, Marquis tell us that since the future of the fetus includes a set of experiences, projects, and other activities that are more or less identical with the future of an adult human being, and it is morally wrong to kill human beings because it would deprive them of a future, then it follows that abortion is morally wrong as it would deprive the fetus of a future.

The major issue with Marquis’ account, as I see it, is that it does not consider whether the mother is morally blameworthy for deciding to have an abortion. Because Marquis wants to argue that it is morally wrong to kill a fetus, he must also show that committing the wrong-making feature of his account necessarily entails blameworthiness. To borrow from Thomson here, if a desperately frightened fourteen-year-old schoolgirl, pregnant due to rape, chooses to have an abortion, it is not apparent to me that Marquis’ account would not suggest that we attribute to the victim moral blameworthiness to argue that she is morally wrong. This undoubtedly would be a problematic stance. It would suggest that the poor girl is worthy of blame for not wanting to continue with a pregnancy caused by rape.

While Thomson gives us a common-sense account for abortion and Marquis gives us a cogent account against it, they both make it so that the choice as to which position to adopt remains prima facie incompatible. On one hand, Thomson offers reasonable amendments to allow for some abortions to be permissible in the case of rape, undue burden, or when the pregnancy threatens the mother's life. But she offers no meaningful sense as to what our moral responsibility should be for the preservation of life. On the other hand, Marquis offers us a cogent argument in the future-like-ours account of the wrongness of killing, which extends to the moral impermissibility of having an abortion. I think Marquis is perhaps correct in contending that abortion can never be morally permissible, but I also do not think it is necessarily the case that all abortions are immoral. His potentiality account requires further consideration because as it stands it is at best indifferent to a rape victim being held morally blameworthy for having an abortion and at worst it would follow that she is morally blameworthy for choosing to do so.

What prevents one from outrightly adopting Thomson’s common-sense account is this innate sentiment of moral obligation to preserve life, and therefore a moral responsibility to do so when possible. But what if abortion in general does not require us to consider moral responsibility?

The Soldier's Dilemma and Its Parallel to Abortion

Consider for a moment a soldier in war. What does society expect that soldier to do once in combat? It would expect the soldier to kill enemy soldiers if necessary. But is it not the case that an enemy soldier is prima facie innocent, and therefore killing them is a morally wrong act as it deprives them of a future? How are we to think about the idea of killing other human beings in the case of war? Are we to intuitively believe that because a person is in combat, they forgo the claim to be an innocent human being? And if so, what right does society have to ask its young men to forgo personal innocence and be labeled as a “killer” or “murderer” for the rest of their lives? (Assuming we adopt the position of pro-life extremists, which must be viewed as a pacifist movement if it is to be morally consistent.) My intuition is telling me that society has no right to ask this of its young men if the consequence is that they become labeled as “killers” or “murderers.” We do not expect soldiers to contend with the idea of innocence or the deprivation of another individual’s future during war; rather, we expect them to deal with the facts and circumstances of the situation as they are.

In war, the states of affairs that govern a soldier’s decision-making are no longer predicated on moral conditions but rather on an amoral condition. Accordingly, one’s responsibility under an amoral condition is toward self-preservation. It would be irrational, indecent, and inappropriate to contend that a soldier is a “killer” or a “murderer” for choosing to preserve his life under the facts and circumstances of war.

Likewise, in the case of abortion, one’s responsibility is predicated on the facts and circumstances of the situation as they are. Just as in the case of war, we cannot be quick to judge based on ideal conditions of preserving innocent life, the deprivation of another’s future, or what is morally permissible if the facts and circumstances are not conducive to moral consideration. Accordingly, there is no moral obligation and thus no moral responsibility. As Thomson would suggest, there is only what a decent person would do given the facts and circumstances of the situation as they are. Hence, my account for establishing a propositional mindset about the permissibility of abortion is that abortion is prima facie an amorally permissible procedure if it is done sufficiently before the viability of the fetus and with exceptions in specific cases such as rape, unviability of the fetus, or if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life.  


What is being advocated for is not that the wrong-making feature be ignored or made praiseworthy, but rather that one has a choice to do what is required for their self-preservation given the facts and circumstances of the situation. My account retains Marquis’ future-like-ours account on the wrongness of killing, which is consistent with the view that abortion can never be morally permissible. However, it allows for common sense reasoning to make abortion permissible if it is done sufficiently before the viability of the fetus and with exceptions in specific cases such as rape, unviability of the fetus, or if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. In the case of women’s rights, we return to a basic understanding much like the position of Aristotle by letting abortion be procured before sense and life have begun. In the case of pro-life, let the focus now be on prenatal care to ensure the casuistry of these hard cases do not materialize. For everything that falls in between, let the facts and circumstances guide the decision to bring life into this world, for which what is morally permissible, morally impermissible, or not conducive to moral consideration at all will work itself out. Here, I believe I have presented an account that is compatible with both respecting the sanctity of life and a woman’s right to choose when to bring life into the world.

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