Monday, December 5, 2011
Gary Gutting on Abortion and Personhood
The New York Times Opinionator, On Abortion and Defining a ‘Person’, by Gary Gutting:
The Stone is featuring occasional posts by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, that apply critical thinking to information and events that have appeared in the news.
The recent referendum in Mississippi showed that many Americans — including many strong opponents of abortion — are reluctant to treat a fertilized egg as a human person. They are, in particular, unwilling to extend the full protection of our laws against murder to a fertilized egg. This might seem to be just a common sense reaction to an extreme position, but rejecting the personhood position has important consequences for the logic of the abortion debate. (In formulating these logical consequences, I am not taking a position on the morality of abortion. As always, logic can only force a choice between accepting a conclusion and denying the premises from which the conclusion follows.) . . .