Perry Hendricks’ impairment argument for the immorality of abortion is based on two premises: first, impairing a fetus with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is immoral, and second, if impairing an organism to some degree is immoral, then ceteris paribus, impairing it to a higher degree is also immoral. He calls this the impairment principle (TIP). Since abortion impairs a fetus to a higher degree than FAS, it follows from these two premises that abortion is immoral. Critics have focussed on the ceteris paribus clause of TIP, which requires that the relevant details surrounding each impairment be sufficiently similar. In this article, we show that the ceteris paribus clause is superfluous, and by replacing it with a more restrictive condition, the impairment argument is considerably strengthened.
- moral status
- embryos and fetuses
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Contributors The idea for this paper was conceived by Bruce Blackshaw. Perry Hendricks contributed valuable criticism and wrote the section on objections.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement There are no data in this work.
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.