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Why should ethicists think about pregnancy sickness?

Why should ethicists think about pregnancy sickness?
Why should ethicists think about pregnancy sickness?
I became a philosopher because I was fascinated by the ethics of abortion. Not only is abortion a crucial practical issue – a matter of life or death – but it forces us to grapple with some of the hardest and yet most significant philosophical questions: If we agree that all human beings have a right to life, what entities do we count as human beings? What characteristics, if any, are necessary? What happens when one entity’s life clashes with another’s bodily integrity? What are the roles of responsibility, consent and fore-knowledge?
However, once I became pregnant myself, I felt dissatisfied with most existing literature on abortion. With a few notable exceptions – for example, the wonderful work of Margaret Little – the philosophical literature on abortion seemed cold and bloodless. It failed to engage at all with the messy reality of pregnancy: the blood and guts, the stretch marks and vomiting. What pregnancy is like, physically and emotionally, matters for understanding what is at stake when we consider whether a woman* is morally required to stay pregnant. Unless we engage with these often-distasteful details, we cannot hope for a full understanding of the ethics of abortion.
41-46
Woollard, Fiona
c3caccc2-68c9-47c8-b2d3-9735d09f1679
Woollard, Fiona
c3caccc2-68c9-47c8-b2d3-9735d09f1679

Woollard, Fiona (2017) Why should ethicists think about pregnancy sickness? The Philosophers' Magazine, (77), 41-46. (doi:10.5840/tpm20177746).

Record type: Article

Abstract

I became a philosopher because I was fascinated by the ethics of abortion. Not only is abortion a crucial practical issue – a matter of life or death – but it forces us to grapple with some of the hardest and yet most significant philosophical questions: If we agree that all human beings have a right to life, what entities do we count as human beings? What characteristics, if any, are necessary? What happens when one entity’s life clashes with another’s bodily integrity? What are the roles of responsibility, consent and fore-knowledge?
However, once I became pregnant myself, I felt dissatisfied with most existing literature on abortion. With a few notable exceptions – for example, the wonderful work of Margaret Little – the philosophical literature on abortion seemed cold and bloodless. It failed to engage at all with the messy reality of pregnancy: the blood and guts, the stretch marks and vomiting. What pregnancy is like, physically and emotionally, matters for understanding what is at stake when we consider whether a woman* is morally required to stay pregnant. Unless we engage with these often-distasteful details, we cannot hope for a full understanding of the ethics of abortion.

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Why Should Ethicists Think About Pregnancy Sickness? Author's copy - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 3 March 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 April 2017

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Local EPrints ID: 419018
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/419018
PURE UUID: b6d15b72-0bce-4935-b752-dc262ab32e7f

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Date deposited: 28 Mar 2018 16:30
Last modified: 06 Oct 2020 22:26

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