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

Abstract

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

Hare, Christopher, At the Original Position as a Fetus: Rawlsian Political Theory, Human Rights, and the Pro-Life Imperative (April 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3153105 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3153105

Christopher Hare (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis ( email )

469 Kerr Hall
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

HOME PAGE: http://christopherdhare.com

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
98
rank
263,864
Abstract Views
443
PlumX Metrics