Southwest Philosophy Review

Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2023

Bertha Alvarez Manninen
Pages 109-119

Respecting Fetal Life Within Pro-choice Advocacy: Conceding to Some Pro-life Concerns (and Asking the Same in Return)

This paper will explain three reasons why pro-choice advocates should move away from arguments in favor of abortion choice that is dependent upon the fetus’ non-personhood, and more towards generating arguments in favor of abortion choice that embraces a more respectful view of fetal life. First, the future of the legal right to an abortion in the United States may depend on generating an argument that does not rely on denying fetal personhood. Second, pro-choice advocates should be more respectful of fetal life because the hesitancy of doing so has not gone over well in the general public. Even individuals who are sympathetic to a pro-choice perspective are sometimes hesitant to align themselves with the pro-choice community because of the perception that it is antithetical to the value of fetal life. The third reason is that some women who choose abortion regard it as a morally significant act precisely because they regard the fetus as a morally significant being.