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Little, Margaret Olivia, , . Abortion
2008, In R. G. Frey & Christopher Wellman (eds.), A companion to applied ethics. Malden: Wiley. pp. 313-325.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Introduction: It is often noted that public discussion of the moral status of abortion is disappointingly crude. The positions staked out and the reasoning proffered seem to reflect little of the subtlety and nuance – not to mention ambivalence – that mark more private reflections on the subject. Despite attempts by various parties to find middle ground, the debate remains largely polarized: at its most dramatic, with extreme conservatives claiming abortion to be the moral equivalent of murder, even as extreme liberals think it devoid of moral import.To some extent, this polarization is due to the legal battle that continues to shadow moral discussions. Admission of ethical nuance, it is feared, will play as concession on the deeply contested question of whether abortion should be a legally protected option for women. But, to some extent, blame for the continued crudeness can be laid at the doorstep of moral theory itself.

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Purdy, Laura, , . Are Pregnant Women Fetal Containers?
1990, Bioethics 4(4): 273–291.
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Added by: Carl Fox, Contributed by:

Content: Purdy offers a strong argument against overriding the decisions of pregnant women and tries to reconcile the significance of the dependence of the fetus on the mother with the mother’s right to control her own body.

Comment: Very useful as introductory or further reading on reproductive rights and/or abortion.
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Steinbock, Bonnie, , . The Logical Case for “Wrongful Life”
1986, The Hastings Center Report 16 (2): 15-20.
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Added by: Rochelle DuFord, Contributed by:

Summary: In this article, Steinbock solves the logical problem with torts based on wrongful life. She argues that a wrongful life suit need not show that it would have been better for the infant to have never been born, but merely that the infant is impaired to such a degree that the infant has no capacity for fulfilling even very basic human interests. She claims that this criteria is capable of serving as the basis for a tort claim concerning the recovery of extraordinary medical care and specialized training.

Comment: This journal article would be a good addition to a course on medical ethics that covered some legal questions or questions about serverely impaired infants. Steinbock presents overviews of a number of wrongful life suits brought in the United States and provides a philosophical analysis of the possibility of the harm of being born.

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Tremain, Shelley, , . Reproductive freedom, self-regulation, and the government of impairment in utero
2006, Hypatia 21(1): 35-53.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: This article critically examines the constitution of impairment in prenatal testing and screening practices and various discourses that surround these technologies. While technologies to test and screen (for impairment) prenatally are claimed to enhance women’s capacity to be self-determining, make informed reproductive choices, and, in effect, wrest control of their bodies from a patriarchal medical establishment, I contend that this emerging relation between pregnant women and reproductive technologies is a new strategy of a form of power that began to emerge in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, my argument is that the constitution of prenatal impairment, by and through these practices and procedures, is a widening form of modern government that increasingly limits the field of possible conduct in response to pregnancy. Hence, the government of impairment in utero is inextricably intertwined with the government of the maternal body.

Comment: Most useful in teaching on ethical issues at the beginning of life. It can be also used in teaching on the ethics of autonomy, freedom of choice, and feminism in general.

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