At the Original Position as a Fetus: Rawlsian Political Theory, Human Rights, and the Pro-Life Imperative
15 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 1, 2018
The approach of liberal political philosopher John Rawls on the issue of abortion relied on his construct of “public reason,” in which citizens in a pluralistic democracy restrict the use of deliberative arguments and reasons which are drawn from their “irreconcilable comprehensive doctrines,” including their religious worldviews. From this reasoning, Rawls concludes that a just society is one which includes the legal right to abortion. However, I contend that the use of another of Rawls’s theories — “justice as fairness” — leads to an alternate conclusion: that legally sanctioned abortion represents the unjust persecution of a specific population — the unborn. This theoretical approach lends itself to the conclusion that a just society ought to protect the fetus as a uniquely vulnerable position in society.
Keywords: Abortion, Original Position, Fetal Rights, Rawls, Political Theory, Bioethics
JEL Classification: K4, H11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation