Why There Is an Individual Right to Abortion

Much of today’s debate about abortion rights deals with questions about the point in pregnancy at which the fetus or embryo first acquires the right to live. But the real question we must answer to resolve the debate is a philosophical one about the nature of rights, not a specialized scientific one about the nature of the fetus. This talk will argue that if we understand rights as individual rights in the original Enlightenment American sense, neither an embryo nor a fetus can be understood as having rights. Opposition to abortion rights stems from pre-Enlightenment religious notions of morality and rights, not from disagreement about biology.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 6:30pm to 8:00pm

CBA 3.302

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