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Ectogenesis rescue case: a reply to Hendricks
  1. William Simkulet
  1. Philosophy, Park University, Parkville, Missouri, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr William Simkulet, Philosophy, Park University, Parkville, MO 64152, USA; simkuletwm{at}


Hendricks set out to construct an antiabortion version of Jeff McMahan’s Embryo Rescue case in which you have two choices—(1) save a woman from an unwilling pregnancy or (2) save a fetus from being killed. In his Pregnancy Rescue case, he contends we ought to choose (2), which he thinks shows abortion is immoral. However, I argue the Pregnancy Rescue case is a false dilemma because you can save both. I propose an alternative, more elegant dilemma, the Ectogenesis Rescue case with the same choices (1) and (2). Hendricks also believes his case can serve as an antiabortion version of Thomson’s Violinist case, showing that abortion is immoral even if a fetus is not a person. However, while Thomson’s Violinist substitutes the fetus with a person, Hendricks fails to substitute the fetus with something that is not a person. I propose an alternative, the Snakebite Rescue case, which does this.

  • Ethics- Medical
  • Abortion - Induced
  • Embryos and Fetuses

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  • Contributors WS is the sole author of this work.

  • 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.

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

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