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Is the unborn human less than human?

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REFERENCES AND NOTES

  1. The facts in this section are taken from the following: F. Beck, D. B. Moffat, and D. P. Davies, Human Embryology, Second edition (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1985); Keith L. Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, Second edition (Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders, 1977); Andre E. Hellegers, “Fetal Development,” in Biomedical Ethics, editor, Thomas A. Mappes and Jane S. Zembaty (New York: Macmillan, 1981), pp. 405-409; and Stephen M. Krason, Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution(Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984), pp. 337-349.
  2. Subcommittee on Separation of Powers, report to Senate Judiciary Committee S-158, 97th Congress, 1st Session, 1981, as quoted in Norman L. Geisler, Christian Ethics: Options and Issues (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989), 149.
  3. James J. Diamond, M.D., "Abortion, Animation and Biological Hominization," Theological Studies 36 (June 1975): 305-42.
  4. Stephen M. Krason, Abortion: Politics, Morality, and the Constitution(Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984), p. 341.
  5. John T. Noonan, “The Experience of Pain by the Unborn,” in The Zero People, Jeff Lane Hensley, editor (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant, 1983), pp. 141-56.
  6. Ibid., pp. 151-52.
  7. See Mortimer Rosen, "The Secret Brain: Learning Before Birth," Harper's, April 1978, pp. 46-47.
  8. See Michael Tooley, Abortion and Infanticide (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983); and Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse, “On Letting Handicapped Infants Die,” in The Right Thing to Do, James Rachels, editor (New York: Random House, 1989).
  9. John Warwick Montgomery, Slaughter of the Innocents(Westchester, IL: Crossway, 1981), p. 37. For more on quickening,see ibid., pp. 103-119; and David W. Louisell and John T. Noonan,“Constitutional Balance,” in The Morality of Abortion, pp. 223-26.
  10. Robert Wennberg, Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1985), p. 77.
  11. Peter Singer and Helga Kuhse, “On Letting Handicapped Infants Die,” in The Right Thing to Do, James Rachels, editor (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 146.
  12. Robert Wennberg, Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1985), pp. 77-78.
  13. Baruch Brody, Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life: A Philosophical View (Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1975).
  14. Ibid., p. 102.
  15. Andrew Varga, The Main Issues in Bioethics, Second edition (New York: Paulist Press, 1984), pp. 61-62.
  16. Ibid., 62.
  17. Baruch Brody, Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life: A Philosophical View (Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press, 1975), pp. 113-114.
  18. A. Chadwick Ray, "Humanity, Personhood, and Abortion," International Philosophical Quarterly 25 (1985), p. 238.
  19. Ibid.
  20. Ibid.
  21. Andrew Varga, The Main Issues in Bioethics, Second edition (New York: Paulist Press, 1984), pp. 62-63.
  22. Ibid., p. 63.
  23. Jane English, “Abortion and the Concept of a Person,” in Biomedical Ethics, Thomas A. Mappes and Jane S. Zembatty, editors (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981), p. 430.
  24. Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989) in United States Law Week 57 (July 1989): p. 5040.
  25. For a defense of this view, see Richard Werner, "Abortion: The Ontological and Moral Status of the Unborn," Social Policy and Practice 3 (1974): pp. 201-202.
  26. See Joel Feinberg, “Grounds For Coercion,” in Ethical Theory and Social Issues, David Theo Goldberg, editor (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1989), pp. 307-315.
  27. A. Chadwick Ray, "Humanity, Personhood, and Abortion," International Philosophical Quarterly 25 (1985), p. 240.
  28. Peter Kreeft, “Human Personhood Begins at Conception,” in Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine 4 (Winter 1990), p. 11.
  29. Michael Tooley, Abortion and Infanticide (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).
  30. Mary Anne Warren, “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” in Biomedical Ethics, pp. 417-423.
  31. James Rachels, The End of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986). For a critical analysis of this book, see J. P. Moreland's review in The Thomist 53 (Oct. 1989), pp. 714-722.
  32. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, "Reproducive Choice: Basic to Justice for Women," Christian Scholar's Review 17 (March 1988), pp. 286-293.
  33. See Michael Tooley, Abortion and Infanticide (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983).
  34. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, "Reproducive Choice: Basic to Justice for Women," Christian Scholar's Review 17 (March 1988), p. 291.
  35. Michael Tooley, Abortion and Infanticide (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983), p. 167. In rebuttal, see David Clark, "An Evaluation of the Quality of Life Argument for Infanticide," Simon Greenleaf Law Review 5 (1985-86), pp. 104-108; and Richard A. McCormick, S.J., How Brave a New World? Dilemmas in Bioethics (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1981), pp. 157-59.
  36. Jane English, “Abortion and the Concept of a Person,” in Biomedical Ethics, Thomas A. Mappes and Jane S. Zembatty, editors (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981), p. 429.
  37. Ibid., p. 430.
  38. Some philosophers, such as Tooley (Abortion & Infanticide), “bite the bullet” and say that infanticide is not a form of murder since the newborn is not a person.
  39. John Jefferson Davis, Abortion and the Christian (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1984), p. 57.
  40. A. Chadwick Ray, "Humanity, Personhood, and Abortion," International Philosophical Quarterly 25 (1985), pp. 240-241.
  41. Daniel Callahan, Abortion: Law, Choice, and Morality (New York: Macmillan, 1970); and Robert Wennberg, Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy (Grand Rapids, MI: Williams B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1985).
  42. Philip Devine, The Ethics of Homicide (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1979); Robert E. Joyce, “Personhood and the Conception Event,” The New Scholasticism 52 (Winter 1978), pp. 104-109; J. P. Moreland and Norman L. Geisler, The Life and Death Debate: Moral Issues of Our Time (Westport, CT: Praeger Books, 1990), pp. 31-34.
  43. See Moreland and Geisler, The Life and Death Debate; and Francis J. Beckwith and Norman L. Geisler, Matters of Life and Death: Calm Answers to Tough Questions about Abortion and Euthanasia (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1991), part 2.
  44. Justice Harry Blackmun, in "The 1973 Supreme Court Decisions on State Abortion Laws: Excerpts from Opinion in Roe v. Wade," in The Problem of Abortion, Second edition, Joel Feinberg, editor (Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 1984), p. 195.

Author: Francis J. Beckwith. Part of a 4-part series that originally appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Spring 1991. Provided with permission by Summit Ministries. Minor editing for this publication by Paul S. Taylor, Films for Christ.

Copyright © 1995, 1998, Christian Research Institute, 1991, 1998, All Rights Reserved—except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.

Go to Summit Ministries

For further reading on abortion issues

  • Francis J. Beckwith, Politically Correct Death: Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1993).
  • Francis J. Beckwith, Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 2000).
  • Stephen Schwarz, The Moral Question of Abortion (Loyola University Press, 1990).
  • Randy Alcorn, Prolife Answers to Prochoice Arguments (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Press, 2000).

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