Is it ever morally right to procure an abortion, to help procure one, or to perform one? Patrick Lee surveys the main philosophical arguments in favor of the moral permissibility of abortion and refutes them point by point. In a calm and philosophically sophisticated manner, he presents a powerful case for the pro-life position and a serious challenge to all of the main philosophical arguments on behalf of the pro-choice position. Lee's method is strictly philosophical, with special attention given to authors in the broadly analytical school of thought. He contends that what is killed in abortion is indeed an individual human being. Attempts to argue otherwise are carefully presented and criticized, as are other attempts to justify abortion morally.
Since 1996 when the first edition of Abortion and Unborn Human Life appeared, the debate about the morality of abortion has not subsided. From the standpoint of philosophy many issues have become clearer. Accordingly, Patrick Lee confirms his position that unborn human beings have an equal and inherent dignity and are subjects of basic rights from the moment of fertilization. In this second edition, Lee provides significant updates in view of recent developments.
Among the developments have been an added precision required for the argument against the gradualist position, the position that a human being only gradually comes to be; significant developments in embryology strengthening the case that at fertilization a new human individual comes to be; and further refinements to the argument that some abortions are non-intentional killing.
Lee argues that what is at stake in this debate about how to treat unborn human beings is whether we will or will not recognize the fundamental equal dignity possessed by every human being, simply by virtue of being the kind of being he or she is.