Abortion and the Ways We Value Human Life

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Overview

In Abortion and the Ways We Value Human Life, Jeffrey Reiman argues that an overlooked clue to the solution of the moral problem of abortion lies in the unusual way in which we value the lives of individual human beings_namely, that we value them irreplaceably. We think it is not only wrong to kill an innocent child or adult, but that it would not be made right by replacing the dead one with another living one, or even several. Reiman argues that there are only a limited number of facts that could justify such valuing, with the result that human children and adults have the fullest right to protection of their lives, infants have a lesser but substantial right to such protection, and fetuses do not qualify at all. Leading up to this argument, Reiman presents a survey of Western attitudes and laws about abortion from Hammurabi's Code to Roe v. Wade, and a critical analysis of all the major philosophical arguments on the issue, pro and con. The book is written in straightforward, jargon-free language that makes it accessible to college students at all levels and to the educated lay reader as well.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of Medical Ethics
The book certainly has a lot to offer as an introduction to some of the historical context and main arguments in the abortion debate.
Booknews
Reiman (philosophy, American University) argues that somewhere along the line, both pro-lifers and pro-choicers agree that murdering a human being constitutes murder, and that the disagreement hinges upon when the fetus becomes a human being. This concept he labels "the assymetric value of human life", i.e. the valuing of existing human lives above the lives of possible future human beings. Three chapters review the history of attitudes and laws about abortion in the West, the main arguments about the morality of abortion and how they fail, and his own arguments for the moral permissibility of abortion. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847692088
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/23/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 138
  • Product dimensions: 5.82 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Reiman is William Fraser McDowell Professor of Philosophy at the American University and the author of many books, including Critical Moral Liberalism (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997) and The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison. He is coauthor, with Louis Pojman, of The Death Penalty: For and Against (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997).

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction: The Asymmetric Value of Human Life Chapter 2 1 Abortion, From Hammurabi's Code to Roe v. Wade Chapter 3 2 The Main Abortion Arguments and Why They Fail Chapter 4 3 Abortion, Infanticide, and the Ways We Value Human Life Part 5 Index Part 6 About the Author

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