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Davis, Alison, , . Right to life of handicapped
1983, Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (3):181-181.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: This notion of non-personhood denies the right of handicapped people to be recognised as equal human beings in a caring society, and it makes a mockery of the goodwill which seemingly abounded in the International Year of Disabled People. Legislation of the type proposed could well also lead to the de facto decriminalisation of the act of killing a handicapped person of any age, just as it did in Hitler’sGermany.And if it does, woe betide any handicapped people who are too ill to defend their right to life by protesting that they are in fact happy. And woe betide us all, when we get too old to be considered ‘useful’ and all the friends who could have spoken in our defence have already been oh so lovingly ‘allowed to die’.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Thomson, Judith Jarvis, , . A Defense of Abortion
1971, Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Content: Thomson aims to see if abortion can be defended even if the anti-abortion theorist is granted their key premise, i.e. that the foetus has the status of a person. Thomson argues that this is, in fact, irrelevant since we do not owe it to others to let them use our body in order to survive.

Comment: This text offers one of the central arguments in favour of moral permissibility of abortion and features the 'famous violinist' thought experiment. It is a central reading for any module in applied ethics focusing on abortion.

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

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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