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The paper presents a simple but novel argument against the idea of abortion on demand – i.e. the situation where a woman does not need to justify an abortion. Rather than arguing from a theory of the Right to Life of the foetus, which many would regard as controversial, the paper argues from the point of view that the foetus has a certain (intrinsic) value– simply because it is human. Since the destruction of something of value must be justified, it follows that the destruction of a foetus must be justified. This rules out abortion on demand. I believe that shifting emphasis from rights to values could make a major difference to the abortion debate and will make many people rethink their position on the subject.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 26/2 East ParksideEdinburgh EH16 5XN, Email:

Publication date: 2007-03-01

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