Appealing to reason rather than religious belief, this book is the most comprehensive case against the choice of abortion yet published. The Ethics of Abortion critically evaluates all the major grounds for denying fetal personhood, including the views of those who defend not only abortion but also infanticide. It also provides several (non-theological) justifications for the conclusion that all human beings, including those in utero, should be respected as persons. This book also critiques the view that abortion is not wrong even if the human fetus is a person. The Ethics of Abortion examines hard cases for those who are pro-life, such as abortion in cases of rape or in order to save the mother’s life, as well as hard cases for defenders of abortion, such as sex selection abortion and the rationale for being “personally opposed” but publicly supportive of abortion. It concludes with a discussion of whether artificial wombs might end the abortion debate. Answering the arguments of defenders of abortion, this book provides reasoned justification for the view that all intentional abortions are morally wrong and that doctors and nurses who object to abortion should not be forced to act against their consciences.
For some people, day-to-day life allows us to “read” only audiobooks while commuting or taking care of a household, and unfortunately at this time Kaczor’s book is not available on audio. However the philosophically inclined TikToker veryjerry42 has read and summarized (most of) the book in 43 parts (that’s tenacity!) and he gave Secular Pro-Life permission to reformat his summary as a YouTube playlist. The playlist breaks down as follows:
- Chapter 1: Introduction: Playlist pt. 1
- Chapter 2: Is After-Birth Abortion Ethically Permissible? Playlist pts. 2-7
- Chapter 3: Does Personhood Begin at Birth? Playlist pts. 8-11
- Chapter 4: Does Personhood Begin During Pregnancy? Playlist pts. 12-20
- Chapter 5: Is Fetal Moral Status Linked to Fetal Development? Playlist pts. 21-23
- Chapter 6: Does Personhood Begin at Conception? Playlist pts. 24-29
- Chapter 7: Objections to the Basic Moral Status of Human Embryos. Playlist pts. 30-35
- Chapter 8: Is it Wrong to Abort a Person? Playlist pts. 36-43
(“Chapter 9: Hard Cases for Critics of Abortion” and “Chapter 10: Hard Cases for Defenders of Abortion” are not summarized here.)
If you’re curious about The Ethics of Abortion but short on time, you can listen to that summary here (you may need to open the video in YouTube to see the whole playlist).
Addendum: I have a copy of Kaczor’s third edition, which includes this touching dedication: