Faversham Stoa 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 cartoon

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

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