Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Defending the two tragedies argument: a response to Simkulet
  1. Henrik Friberg-Fernros
  1. Correspondence to Dr Henrik Friberg-Fernros, Department of Political Science, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg SE 405 30, Sweden; henrik.friberg-fernros{at}


According to the two-tragedies argument proponents of pro-life can justifiably prioritize efforts to prevent abortion rather than miscarriages due to the fact that abortions in contrast to miscarriages involves usually the act of killing. William Simkulet has recently argued against this argument claiming that it fails as it (a) is in conflict with the common sense pro-life view on abortion and (b) leads to an overestimation of the moral value of preventing the ‘second tragedy’, namely the act of killing, compared with the value of preventing the death of an individual. In this article, I argue against to his charges against the two tragedies argument by demonstrating that this argument is not only compatible but also in line with the common sense pro-life view and that the argument does not overestimate moral significance of the act of killing.

  • abortion
  • embryos and fetuses
  • ethics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors HF-F is the sole contributor.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

Other content recommended for you