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Abortion and the Beginning and End of Human Life

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The doctrine that it is wrong to end the existence of something because it is a human life (unless special circumstances obtain) I call “the standard view.” I argue that attempts by proponents of abortion choice to avoid the implications of the standard view by suggesting that we don't know when life begins or by suggesting that fetuses are only potential lives fail. Nevertheless, opponents of abortion choice should not base their arguments on the standard view, for the standard view is false. I propose a substitute for the standard view that avoids the difficulties with it, that explains why most people believe that the standard view is true and that also underwrites opposition to abortion choice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of Philosophy at The University of Kansas. He has written about the ethics of abortion, medical research and physician-assisted suicide.

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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