The assignment has three parts:
Part 1
Please do these readings BEFORE the weekend (you will be assigned two more for Monday):
Thomson: “A Defense of Abortion” ( and Don Marquis, “Why Abortion is Immoral” (, which both discuss abortion. We will take several classes to discuss abortion, but for this class, try to outline (for yourself) the articles (one for, and one against, abortion). What do you think are the main points of these articles? How would you explain them to someone who has not read the articles?
Part 2
In addition to the two readings assigned at the end of last week, do the following:
Review our readings on Virtue Theory from Week 3.
Then read “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion” (, by Mary Anne Warren, and “Virtue Theory and Abortion” (, by Rosalind Hursthouse.
Note that it is important to read the Virtue Theory readings BEFORE the abortion readings for this week.
For today’s class, choose a case from the list below. Use that case to prepare a presentation, following the format below:
Choose ONE of these case descriptions, and construct (and write) a short case (either from your experience, from the news, or a fictionalized case) based on that one instance. Then prepare a presentation based on that case, plus two slides.
Summarize the case or caselet by:
1- What is the ethical issue(s) in this case?
2- What are some possible solutions to the case?
3- What reasons support those solutions?
4- What do you think should be done, and why?
5- What are some questions for class discussion?
On your final two slides, construct an argument for EACH side of the question raised by the case (one for, one against) using an ethical theory or principle as the main reason for or against the morality of having an abortion in the case. Try to use ideas from the four articles that you have read to strengthen your argument(s).
So: two valid, defensible arguments, one on each slide. Then, in a sentence or two for EACH premise (one and two) in EACH argument, suggest how one might defend that premise.
To choose your case: Below is s set of difficult instances of abortion, taken from the BBC website (downloaded 2/14/2016):
1- Cases where there is a serious medical problem
a)the pregnancy endangers the life or health of the mother (
b) there are too many fetuses ( in the womb for them all to survive
c)the fetus is so defective ( that it will die later in the pregnancy
d) the fetus is so defective ( that it will not live after the birth
2- Cases where the child will not be ‘normal’
a) the child will suffer from some mental or physical abnormality( that the parents (correctly?) think will very seriously damage its quality of life
3- Cases where the pregnancy is entirely unintentional
a) pregnancy caused by rape
b) pregnancy caused by failure of contraception where the potential parents are not to blame
c) pregnancy caused by a badly done vasectomy
d) pregnancy caused by the parties not knowing that sexual intercourse causes pregnancy
– such cases would include persons who are not mentally capable of understanding this
4- Cases where the pregnancy is unintentional but where risk was taken
a) pregnancy caused by failure of contraception within the known risk of that contraceptive method
b) pregnancy caused by carelessness in the use of contraception
c) pregnancy caused by failure to use contraception
5- Cases where the pregnancy has lifestyle consequences
a) having a child would prevent the mother from achieving some life objective
b) the mother is incapable of looking after a child
c) the mother is incapable of looking after another child
d) another child would lower the family’s standard of living
e) there is not enough food to support the child
f) having another child would result in criminal proceedings against the parent
g) the child is not of the preferred sex
h) coping with the child’s disability would damage the family’s lifestyle
i) coping with the child’s disability would disadvantage existing family children
Part 3
Read Schouten- Fetuses, Orphans, and a Famous Violinist.pdf.Download Schouten- Fetuses, Orphans, and a Famous Violinist.pdf. IN WRITING, from the articles we have read, choose the article that is most challenging to you (that is intentionally broad!). Explain what the challenge is, why it is challenging to you, and how you respond. Be sure to pick an article or point that genuinely makes you question your own view, and explain what is a challenge to your way of thinking.


Approximately 250 words