The Ethics of Pregnancy, Abortion and Childbirth addresses the unique moral questions raised by pregnancy and its intimate bodily nature. From assisted reproduction to abortion and ‘vital conflict’ resolution to more everyday concerns of the pregnant woman, this book argues for pregnancy as a close human relationship with the woman as guardian or custodian. Four approaches to pregnancy are explored: ‘uni-personal’, ‘neighborly’, ‘maternal’ and ‘spousal’. The author challenges not only the view that there is only one moral subject to consider in pregnancy, but also the idea that the location of the fetus lacks all inherent, unique significance. It is argued that the pregnant woman is not a mere ‘neighbor’ or helpful stranger to the fetus but is rather already in a real familial relationship bringing real familial rights and obligations. If the status of the fetus is conclusive for at least some moral questions raised by pregnancy, so too are facts about its bodily relationship with, and presence in, the woman who supports it. This lucid, accessible and original book explores fundamental ethical issues in a rich and often neglected area of philosophy in ways of interest also to those from other disciplines.
About the Author
Dr. Helen Watt is Senior Research Fellow and former Director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, Oxford, UK. She is the author of Life and Death in Healthcare Ethics: A Short Introduction and the editor of several books including Fertility and Gender: Issues in Reproductive and Sexual Ethics.
Table of Contents
Introduction. 1. The Uni-Personal Pregnancy 2. The Neighborly Pregnancy 3. The Maternal Pregnancy 4. The Spousal Pregnancy. Appendix: Lethal Fetal Anomaly.