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Briefly on Abortion

Updated on October 30, 2017
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The Just And Unjust, John Finnis

Two philosophers distinctions on what is correct and incorrect in terms of dealing with abortion can always vary. Certain cultures, upbringings, and religions can influence whether abortion should even be a factor of any conception of a child or provide certain motifs to how abortion must be considered in a certain predicament of life, loss, or death. Two particular philosophers John Finnis and Michael Tooley are virtually opposites on the just and unjust means to abort which will be discussed furthermore.

John Mitchell Finnis, “(born 28 July 1940), is an Australian legal scholar and philosopher, specializing in the philosophy of law. He is Professor of Law at University College, Oxford and at the University of Notre Dame, teaching jurisprudence, political theory, and constitutional law (Claredon Press)”. John Finnis is a practicing catholic; his religious views inherently aid his views on abortion. John Finnis Abortion and Healthcare Ethicsessay goes to say that a fetus is a human person at immediate moment of conception. Not only that but Finnis believes that even when a woman is overcome and forced into bed, raped and abandoned like a used toilet paper that the fetus still has right to life, disregarding the woman’s consent, emotional trauma, and physical damage after rape. Though Finnis believes the fetus is not an aggressor, he approaches the idea of abortion as a sin as some unjust action. Physical pain can be measured in del units, just as emotional trauma after rape or death being a possibility for a mother if she decides to carry a baby. In his absolute and stubborn opinion on all situations in relation to abortion he fails to take the emotional impact on the woman into consideration, almost as if belittling the very existence of that which bears the child. John Finnis solitude in preserving the fetus; furthermore, is amiable, but nonetheless a selfish virtue for nobility and disregard of emotional, detrimental circumstances for the mother.

Michael Tooley

Michael Tooley is a professor at University of Colorado, his ideology on abortion is quite the opposition if compared to John Finnis. In Tooley’s paper, “Abortion and Infanticide” he justifies that a human is different from a person and that a human has to have consciousness to be indefinitely distinguished as a person. Tooley even agrees for the ability to kill already conceived infants on the premise that they are not truly conscious. Michael Tooley’s bias on abortion and infanticide is a bit far-fetched, and many would say he goes a bit too far with agreeing to the destruction of conceived children out of womb already prepared to grow and manifest motor skills, for example a 3 month year old baby. Michael Tooley acknowledges the factors that would promote justified abortion, for instance rape, failed contraception, or birthing difficulties, but his accepting of infanticide and some of his justifications for abortion may seem without purpose furthermore unjust like aborting a child for inconvenience or lack of conscious.

Comparison and Contrast

Both John Finnis and Michael Tooley can be considered the direct parallels as to what is just and unjust when a mother must decide to have an abortion. By direct parallels, their views are either practically no abortion (Finnis) or if you are going to abort, the act of the aborting can be utilized more lightly (Tooley). John Finnis is a firm believer that the fetus is a human and a person at moment of conception, but the ultimate question is whether his ethics hold all factors and the measurement of the emotional pain short and long run for the mother. Michael Tooley loosely justifies abortion, but nonetheless the three main components of justifying abortion: rape, contraception failure, or birthing causing death to the mother are included and implied in Tooley’s essay “Abortion and Infanticide”. Abortion is just to an extent, of the three main components, but if a woman is simply lazy to care for the child, or a man does not feel obligated to care for the child, or it is a matter of utility, and the woman would rather indulge in reckless pleasure of drugs, partying, or impulsive arrogant activities these are not just reasons for abortion. The lack of effort or selfishness is analogous to paying rent for an apartment, not paying renters insurance, then if some misfortune occurs, you as a renter with no renters insurance expect an outsourced entity to cover your loses, while fully aware you had not purchased renters insurance and engaging in the act of paying rent without renters insurance.


Press, Claredon. Natural Law and Natural Rights. N.p.: Claredon, 1980. John M. Finnis Bibliography. Oxford: Claredon Press. Web.

Finnis, John M. "Abortion and Healthcare Ethics." Bioethics an Anthology. 3rd ed. N.p.: Blackwell, n.d. 15-22. Print.

Tooley, Michael. "Abortion and Infanticide." Bioethics an Anthology. 3rd ed. N.p.: Blackwell, n.d. 23-37. Print.

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