Title: The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice
Author: edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Perspectives of both pro-choice and pro-life sides in their own words
Important essays with responses included
Demonstrates variety of opinions on both sides
No religious perspectives other than Christianity offered
No essays dealing with the violent anti-abortion fringe, pro or con
22 pieces discussing abortion from both pro-life and pro-choice perspectives
Abortion discussed as a legal, philosophical, historical, personal and religious issue
Provides reader with basic understanding of different beliefs on abortion
But, if such a resolution is to occur, it will require that people make an effort to fully understand and appreciate the issues and perspectives of whose who disagree. It isnt enough to rely upon the caricatures which are so frequently employed to demonize the opposition such demonization only ensures that the current state of violence will continue.
Although there are quite a few books available which tackle the issue of abortion, not many make an effort to fairly and accurately present both sides in their own words. One is The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum. Instead of simply summarizing the positions of others, the editors have gathered together some of the best essays which represent the various possible perspectives from both pro-life and pro-choice activists.
Because abortion is so complicated, the essays are divided into distinct clusters, each of which addresses some particular topic within the abortion debate. One section deals with the constitutional question as to whether or not abortion should be regarded as a fundamental right. Different authors argue over the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade; some say that it was valid, some say that it was wrong, and others disagree with the decision but argue that a right to abortion could be founded on other grounds.
In addition to passages from different important court decisions regarding abortion, the book includes an essay from Robert Bork, a former judge who argues that:
- The inescapable fact is that the Constitution contains not one word that can be tortured into the slightest relevance to abortion, one way or the other. That is a subject left, like most subjects, to democratic processes and the moral choice of the public.
Of course, it should be kept in mind that Bork doesnt believe that the Constitution protects any right to privacy, even in matters regarding sexuality. Thus, he would allow the government to prohibit the selling of contraception.
Another section addresses the interaction between abortion and Christianity unfortunately, it isnt more generally about abortion and religion. It is disappointing that there are no Jewish or Muslim perspectives or indeed, any perspectives outside of Christianity. I suppose space was an important consideration and Christianity was deemed more relevant in the context of American debates, but it is nevertheless unfortunate.