This book introduces readers to the many arguments and controversies concerning abortion. While it argues for ethical and legal positions on the issues, it focuses on how to think about the issues, not just what to think about them. It is an ideal resource to improve your understanding of what people think, why they think that and whethertheir (and your) arguments are good or bad, and why. It's ideal for classroom use, discussion groups, organizational learning, and personal reading.
It's also a $5.38 paperback, which can be ordered and shipped to anyone who would benefit from it:governmental representatives and other elected officials, organizational leaders and community activists, thought leaders and influencers, leaders of religious organizations, friends and family and anyone else who would benefit from a thorough assessment of arguments on all sides of the abortion debates. (Why $5.38? This is currently the lowest price Amazon would allow). It's also a Kindle book for $.99 (or free), which can be shared and sent also.
The book is by two philosophy professors with extensive teaching and research experience on abortion and related issues: Nathan Nobis, Ph.D. at Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA and Kristina Grob, Ph.D. at the University of South Carolina Sumter.
About this Book
From the Preface
To many people, abortion is an issue for which discussions and debates are frustrating and fruitless: it seems like no progress will ever be made towards any understanding, much less resolution or even compromise.
Judgments like these, however, are premature because some basic techniques from critical thinking, such as carefully defining words and testing definitions, stating the full structure of arguments so each step of the reasoning can be examined, and comparing the strengths and weaknesses of different explanations can help us make progress towards these goals.
When emotions run high, we sometimes need to step back and use a passion for calm, cool, critical thinking. This helps us better understand the positions and arguments of people who see things differently from us, as well as our own positions and arguments. And we can use critical thinking skills help to try to figure out which positions are best, in terms of being supported by good arguments: after all, we might have much to learn from other people, sometimes that our own views should change, for the better.
Here we use basic critical thinking skills to argue that abortion is typically not morally wrong. We begin with less morally-controversial claims: adults, children and babies are wrong to kill and wrong to kill, fundamentally, because they, we, are conscious, aware and have feelings. We argue that since early fetuses entirely lack these characteristics, they are not inherently wrong to kill and so most abortions are not morally wrong, since most abortions are done early in pregnancy, before consciousness and feeling develop in the fetus.
Furthermore, since the right to life is not the right to someone else’s body, fetuses might not have the right to the pregnant woman’s body—which she has the right to—and so she has the right to not allow the fetus use of her body. This further justifies abortion, at least until technology allows for the removal of fetuses to other wombs. Since morally permissible actions should be legal, abortions should be legal: it is an injustice to criminalize actions that are not wrong. In the course of arguing for these claims, we:
discuss how to best define abortion;
dismiss many common “question-begging” arguments that merely assume their conclusions, instead of giving genuine reasonsfor them;
refute some often-heard “everyday arguments” about abortion, on all sides;
explain why the most influential philosophical arguments against abortion are unsuccessful;
provide some positive arguments that at least early abortions are not wrong;
briefly discuss the ethics and legality of later abortions, and more.
This essay is not a “how to win an argument” piece or a tract or any kind of apologetics. It is not designed to help anyone “win” debates: everybody “wins” on this issue when we calmly and respectfully engage arguments with care, charity, honesty and humility. This book is merely a reasoned, systematic introduction to the issues that we hope models these skills and virtues. Its discussion should not be taken as absolute “proof” of anything: much more needs to be understood and carefully discussed—always.
"A lucid and engaging introduction to the ethics of abortion. Nobis and Grob are refreshingly fair and balanced in their treatment of a hotly contested issue. They seek to find the best arguments, not arguments that fit any particular agenda. For such a short book, the text is remarkably comprehensive: they define key terms such as ‘murder and ‘baby,’ assess everyday arguments about abortion, discuss the science of fetal development, and rigorously engage the most important philosophical arguments. I have taught many class sessions on abortion; no text I’ve used is nearly as useful as this one. Highly recommended!"
—Rebecca Tuvel, Rhodes College
"It's hard to think clearly about abortion. This book helps. It provides a great set of tools for talking about this thorny issue, and most importantly, it explains exactly what goes wrong in many common arguments. All this is essential: we need it if we're going to do better. So even if you disagree with the conclusions that the authors reach, you'll learn a great deal by reading this accessible and thoughtful volume."
—Bob Fischer, Texas State University
"This book takes on and takes seriously many of the common arguments and appeals that one so frequently hears on the issue of abortion. It provides fair and balanced analyses that are concise and varied. It is an easy to read yet rigorous exploration of key concepts and assumptions present in both popular and philosophical discourse. It's an excellent introduction for anyone who wishes to better reflect critically on the practice of abortion."
—Chelsea Haramia, Spring Hill College
"A concise, fair, and thorough introduction to the arguments from all sides in the debate about abortion. Required reading for anyone wanting to engage the topic seriously."