Philosophers On the Ethics and Politics of Abortion
By Justin Weinberg
June 10, 2019
This year, nine U.S. states have passed legislation that bans early abortions in an attempt to provoke a challenge to the abortion rights protected by the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, "The current U.S. Supreme Court standard holds that states may prohibit abortion after fetal viability so long as there are exceptions for the life and health (both physical and mental) of the woman. Under this legal standard, viability—which can range from 24 to 28 weeks after the start of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP)—must be determined on an individual basis, and determinations of both fetal viability and the woman’s health are at the discretion of the patient’s physician. In addition, states may not require that additional physicians confirm an attending physician’s judgment that the woman’s life or health is at risk in cases of medical emergency."
In light of this recent legislative activity, the political intensity of the subject, and the complex moral and legal questions surrounding it, I took the advice of a few readers and put together this entry for the Philosophers On series on the ethics and politics of abortion.