Volume 12, Issue 2, 2010
Theism and Ultimate Explanation
A Critical Appraisal of Francis Beckwith’s Defending Life
In his book Defending Life, Francis Beckwith claims that the question of personhood and human nature is the central question in the abortion debate. He further asserts that the unborn entity, from the moment of conception, is a full-fledged member of the human community. In this paper I try to show that the argument Beckwith offers for the moral wrongness of abortion in Defending Life is unpersuasive, his elucidation of key terms question-begging, and his claims concerning embryology and zygotic (and postzygotic) development highly controversial.