Hare on the Original Position and Abortion

Christopher Hare (University of California, Davis) has posted At the Original Position as a Fetus: Rawlsian Political Theory, Human Rights, and the Pro-Life Imperative on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: The approach of liberal political philosopher John Rawls on the issue of abortion relied on his construct of “public reason,” in which citizens in a pluralistic democracy restrict the use of deliberative arguments and reasons which are drawn from their “irreconcilable comprehensive doctrines,” including their religious worldviews. From this reasoning, Rawls concludes that a just society is one which includes the legal right to abortion. However, I contend that the use of another of Rawls’s theories — “justice as fairness” — leads to an alternate conclusion: that legally sanctioned abortion represents the unjust persecution of a specific population — the unborn. This theoretical approach lends itself to the…

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