is a philosophy discussion group meeting on the 3rd Tuesday of every month
from 7.30 to 9.30pm
in the The Bull
in Tanners Street. We cover a large range of topics
. If you have an idea for a topic that you would like us to cover why not drop us a line
? There's no charge for membership and everyone is welcome to drop in. Just bring your brain and some beer money!
The politics and ethics of abortion
Abortion is an important and interesting moral issue because it is so divisive and so ambiguous. On one side there are those who believe that human life begins at conception and so all abortion is murder, but even the hard-liners often admit of abortion in cases of rape and a threat to the mother's life. And it is also notable that religious opponents of abortion don't go as far as to hold funerals for miscarriages although one might expect them to do so if they were being consistent about their belief in the full humanity of the fetus. On the other hand the 'pro-choicers' argue for the freedom of choice of a woman to opt for abortion but few would treat an abortion as no more serious that having ones's hair cut. The motal status of the fetus appears to develop along with its biological development, which is reflected in current UK law. No pro-life apologist would argue that killing a new born was ethically the same as taking the morning-after pill.
Abortion is an issue where the moral, the legal and the political merge into each other at various points and also one where there is profound passion on both sides. So how does one approach such a divisive topic in a liberal society where personal freedom is prized so highly and where we believe that every life is supposed to be sacred?
Some useful reading
- The Moral Case for Abortion
- Flier for Ann Furedi's new book on the topic
- The ethics of abortion
- An overview of the issues provided by the BBC web site.
- The abortion debate (Wikipedia)
- UK Abortion Act, 1967 (Wikipedia)
- Is there a 'new ethics of abortion'?
- Journal of Medical Ethics 2001
- Human Personhood
- A strog anti-abortion argument from a religious perspective
- Liberty, Logic and Abortion
- An analysis of the US position following Roe v Wade with an emphasis on US constitutional law
- The Politics of Abortion
- Transcript of the Gresham College lecture by Richarch Holloway
- The British Pregnacy Advisory Service (BPAS) website
- The BPAS blog
- The We Trust Women campaign website
- The We Trust Women campaign (Telegraph 9/2/2016)
- Newspaper article from the Telegraph 9 Feb 2016 about the We Trust Women campaign being launched by various women's organisations.
- Why is abortion still a criminal offence in the UK?
- One in three women will have an abortion before she is 45, and every woman who falls unexpectedly pregnant has a choice to terminate her pregnancy. Last year, 185,331 abortions took place in England and Wales but abortion is still technically an offence.
- Four good reasons for Britain to decriminalise abortion altogether
- (1) Victorian legislation continues to frame abortion as a crime; (2) Abortion today is an accepted part of public health; (3) The legal requirements run counter to best practice; (4) Why not trust women and doctors?
- 2013 UK abortion statistics
- Roe v Wade in the history of America
- The 1973 landmark abortion judgment in the US was the Roe v Wade case
- Roe v Wade (Wikipedia article)