Abortion and reproductive justice

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Abortion and reproductive justice

Roe v. Wade (1973) legally protects abortions up until the point of viability – the point at which the fetus could survive outside of the womb. The point of viability is currently about 24-28 weeks, but further developments in technology could shift it to earlier in the pregnancy. However, abortions after 21 weeks are quite rare in the U.S. Abortions in later stages of pregnancy are often because the pregnant person’s life is in danger or because they lack access to abortion during the first trimester (e.g., did not have the money for the procedure, no access to abortion clinics nearby, etc).

The issue of abortion, of course, is moral as well as legal. Just because we take something to be immoral does not mean we always think it should be illegal. For example, cheating on your romantic partner is immoral, but perhaps we do not think it should also be illegal. What is moral and what is legal are not necessarily the same thing. For abortion, then, your answer about whether you think it is moral might differ from whether you think it should be legal.


  • On the legality of abortion: Should abortion be: (1) complete illegal (with, perhaps, exceptions for rape or incest); (2) legal until the point of viability; (3) legal until the second or third trimester? That is, if you do not think that abortion should be legal until the moment before the pregnant person goes into labor (but perhaps you do), then where do you think we should draw that legal line? Why?
  • On the moral permissibility of abortion: At what point in the pregnancy do you think abortion becomes immoral and is your answer to the moral question similar to or different than your answer to the legal question? Why?

What does Marquis mean by the claim that fetuses have a future like ours?