1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum

The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum

Abortion is one of the most divisive issues in modern US history, perhaps even more so than homosexuality. The sharp divisions cut through politics, religion and even families themselves. At times, it does not seem as though anything like a civil resolution to the conflict will happen anytime soon.

Summary

Title: The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice
Author: edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum
Publisher: Prometheus Books
ISBN: 0879758058

Pro:
• 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

Con:
• No religious perspectives other than Christianity offered
• No essays dealing with the violent anti-abortion fringe, pro or con

Description:
• 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

Book Review

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 isn’t 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 Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum

The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-Life Vs. Pro-Choice, edited by Robert M. Baird and Stuart E. Rosenbaum

    “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 doesn’t 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 isn’t 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.

» Continue: Religion, Philosophy, and Abortion

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.