Abortion and Virtue Ethics
natural kind, moral status, virtue ethic, normative ethic, virtuous person
What can contemporary virtue ethics say about the problem of abortion? In what follows I attempt to answer that question by considering both what has been said and what we may further argue from a virtue-focused perspective. We begin by comparing virtue ethics to the two other dominant approaches in normative ethics. I then consider what some important virtue ethicists have said about abortion in particular, especially Rosalind Hursthouse. After recognizing the many contributions her analysis offers, I also note some of the deficiencies in her approach, particularly in her attempt to bracket the problems of fetal status and women’s rights. Finally, in light of these criticisms I attempt to extend a virtue ethics analysis to embrace a more robust recognition of the humanity of the fetus and the attendant demand of a near absolute prohibition on abortion.
Persons, Moral Worth, and Embryos: A Critical Analysis of Pro-Choice Arguments