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Warren, Mary Anne. On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion
1973, The Monist, 57 (4): 43-61.
Added by: Rochelle DuFord

Summary: This paper is a response to Thomson’s influential defense of abortion. Warren argues that Thomson is mistaken that if a fetus has full moral rights, then abortion is still morally permissible. Warren, instead, argues that while fetuses participate in genetic humanity, they do not participate in the category of personhood (the category which defines the moral community). For this reason, abortion is always morally permissible and thus ought to be legally permissible.

Comment: This reading is a good response to Thomson's influential violinist case. The text is a bit complex, and would be better suited for a course that considered issues of abortion and infanticide in an in depth way.

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