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Better Never to Have BeenThe Harm of Coming into Existence$
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David Benatar

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296422

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296422.001.0001

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Abortion: The ‘Pro‐Death’ View

Abortion: The ‘Pro‐Death’ View

Chapter:
(p.132) 5 Abortion: The ‘Pro‐Death’ View
Source:
Better Never to Have Been
Author(s):

David Benatar (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296422.003.0005

The conclusions of the previous chapters are applied to the abortion question. Four kinds of interests are distinguished: functional, biotic, conscious, and reflective interests. It is argued that beings are morally considerable only when they have at least conscious interests. Because consciousness only arises in human foetuses quite late in gestation (around 28-weeks), people do not come into existence (in the morally relevant sense) until at least that time. Thus, given the harm of coming into existence, it is wrong not to abort a foetus in the earliest stages of gestation. The ‘pro-death’ argument is then defended against two famous arguments that abortion is wrong — Richard Hare's ‘golden rule’ argument and Don Marquis' ‘future-like-ours’ argument.

Keywords:   abortion, interests, consciousness, foetus, golden rule, Hare, future-like-ours, Marquis

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