Abortion Bibliography

The literature on abortion is large. Some of the best known articles have been collected in anthologies. You might want to start with the collections edited by Baird and Rosenbaum, Cohen (and others), or Feinberg. There are also excellent full length books on the subject. Philip Devine takes a very conservative position. Baruch Brody defends a somewhat less conservative view. L.W. Sumner takes a moderate liberal position. Michael Tooley defends a very liberal position. All of these books are clear and well argued. In many cases they address each other's arguments. The following list includes a sampling of sources for you to use in developing your own views.

Baird, Robert M. and Stuart E. Rosenbaum. The Ethics of Abortion: Pro-life vs. Pro-choice. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1989. This anthology is a collection of articles by authors on different sides of the issues.

Bajema, Clifford E. Abortion and the Meaning of Personhood. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1974. Bajema develops a conservative position on abortion based partly on scriptural evidence and partly on a natural law ethic. Excerpt.

Brody, Baruch. Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life: A Philosophical View. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1975. Brody's book contains solid philosophical discussion of many of the issues. His approach is secular and his conclusions essentially pro-life. Excerpt.

Cohen, Marshall, Thomas Nagel, and Thomas Scanlon, ed. The Rights and Wrongs of Abortion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1974. This anthology is a collection of articles by authors on different sides of the issues.

Cozic, Charles and Stacey Tipp, ed. Abortion: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1991. This anthology is a collection of articles by authors on different sides of the issues.

Devine, Philip E. The Ethics of Homicide. Ithaca: Cornell University press, 1978. Devine's book is a professional philosophical treatment of the issues. He argues for a prohibition against homicide that covers infants and the unborn child from a short time after conception.

Ely, John Hart. "The Wages of Crying Wolf: A Comment on Roe v. Wade," The Yale Law Journal, 82 (April, 1973). Ely criticizes the constitutional basis of Blackmun's argument in Roe v. Wade. He also believes that early abortions should be legal. Excerpt.

Feinberg, Joel, ed. The Problem of Abortion. 2nd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1984. This anthology is a collection of articles by authors on different sides of the issues.

-------------, Rights, Justice, and the Bounds of Liberty. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980. Feinberg is a professional philosopher who has written widely on issues in social philosophy. This collection of essays includes several that touch on abortion. His discussion of what kinds of beings can have rights is in "The Rights of Animals and Unborn Generations."

------------- "Abortion" in Tom Regan, ed. Matters of Life and Death. New York: Random House, 1980. Part of this article is also included in Feinberg's anthology The Problem of Abortion.

Fuchs, Josef. S. J. Natural Law: A Theological Investigation. Trans. Helmut Reckter S. J. Dublin: M. H. Gill and son Ltd, 1965. Fuchs' book is not on abortion. It may be useful as an example of recent natural law thinking in the Catholic church. Excerpt.

Garfield, Jay L. and Patricia Hennessey. Abortion: Moral and Legal Perspectives. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984. This anthology is a collection of articles by authors on different sides of the issues. This anthology contains extensive exerpts from Blackmun's decision in Roe v. Wade.

Glover, Jonathan. Causing Death and Saving Lives. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1977. Glover's book is a survey of related moral problems including abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, and others. Glover's conclusions on abortion are pro-choice.

Harrison, Beverly. Our Right To Choose. Boston: Beacon Press, 1983. Harrison is a Christian feminist theologian and philosopher. She argues that the welfare of women should be uppermost in any discussion of abortion and her conclusions are pro-choice.

---------------. Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist Social Ethics. Ed. Carol S. Robb. Boston: Beacon Press, 1985. This collection includes Harrison's paper "Theology and Morality of Procreative Choice." Excerpt.

Hilgers, Thomas W., Dennis J. Horan, and David Mall. New Perspectives on Human Abortion. Frederick, Maryland: University Publications of America, Inc., 1981. This anthology includes pro-life articles on medical, legal, social, and philosophical aspects of abortion.

Koop, C. Everett. The Right To Live; The Right To Die. Toronto: Life Cycle Books, 1976. Koop is a physician and former surgeon-general who also writes from an Evangelical Christian prespective. His arguments are both scriptural and scientific. His position is strongly anti-abortion. Excerpt.

Luker, Kristin. Abortion and The Politics of Motherhood. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Luker is a sociologist. Her book is concerned with different perceptions of abortion and related issues by different groups of women. There is an informative chapter on the "world views" of activists on both sides of the issues that avoids the usual negative stereotypes. She takes no position on the ethical issues.

Mohr, James C. Abortion in America: The Origins and Evolution of National Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978. Mohr is interested in the history, not the morality, of abortion. His focus is on the enactment of restrictive 19th-century laws at the state level. His work is often cited as background in the current debate. See Olasky for a different interpretation. In general, Mohr's interpretation is more agreeable to pro-choice readers than Olasky's.

Noonan, John T., Jr. ed. The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspectives. Cambridge: Harvard Univesity Press, 1970. Noonan is a professor of law and a historian of Roman Catholic thought. His paper "An Almost Absolute Value in History" on the history of Catholic thinking on abortion is often cited. His views are strongly anti-abortion. Excerpt.

----------------- A Private Choice: Abortion in America in the Seventies. Toronto: Life Cycle Books, 1979. Noonan takes a strong pro-life position. He concentrates on legal precedent and advocates a constitutional amendment that would allow states to limit or prohibit abortion.

Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Washington: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1995. Olasky criticizes many of the views held by James Mohr. In general, his interpretation is more agreeable to pro-life readers than Mohr's.

Petchesky, Rosalind. Abortion and Woman's Choice: The State, Sexuality, and Reproductive Freedom. rev ed. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1990. Petchesky is strongly in favor of universal access to abortion as one of several necessary conditions of women's self-determination. A selection from Petchesky is included in the Cozic and Tipp anthology listed above. Excerpt.

Pius XI. "On Christian Marriage," in Terence P. McLaughlin, ed. The Church and the Reconstruction of the Modern World. Garden City: Doubleday Image Books, 1957. McLaughlin's anthology contains the major encyclicals of Pope Pius XI. Pius' 1930 comments on abortion were brief, but they summarize the Church's position and illustrate the natural law tradition. Excerpt.

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Declaration on Abortion (Publication No. V-365) Washington: United States Catholic Conference, Office of Publishing Services, 1974. This pamphlet contains a short, clear statement of the Roman Catholic position on abortion, ratified and approved by Pope Paul VI. Excerpt.

Schambelan, Bo. Ed. Roe v. Wade. Philadelphia: Running Press, 1992. Schambelan's book contains the entire text of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Excerpt.

Sproul, R. C. Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue. Colorado Springs: Navpress, 1990. Sproul is a Christian minister. He considers both Biblical and secular arguments, but his emphasis is on scripture. His position is anti-abortion.

Sumner, L.W. Abortion and Moral Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981. Sumner writes as a professional philosopher. He takes a moderate position that allows abortion in the first trimester but requires weighty reasons to abort in the third trimester. He places special emphasis on integrating ideas about abortion into a utilitarian moral framework. Excerpt.

Thomson, Judith Jarvis. "A Defense of Abortion." Philosophy & Public Affairs, 1 (Fall, 1971). This article is reprinted in the three collections edited by Cohen, Baird, and Feinberg respectively. Thomson is a professional philosopher who has done extensive work in the area of rights. Her article is one of the best known defenses of a right to abort. She emphasizes the right of a woman to control the use of her body and challenges the common claim that if the fetus is a person it is, by that very fact, always (or nearly always) wrong to abort it. Excerpt.

Tooley, Michael. Abortion and Infanticide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985. Tooley is a professional philosopher. His book is a sophisticated treatment of many issues connected with abortion. He places special emphasis on the requirements that must be met for any being to have rights and his conclusions are pro-choice. (Articles containing the gist of Tooley's views are included in the three collections edited by Cohen, Baird, and Feinberg respectively. ) Excerpt.

Tribe, Laurence H. Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1990. Tribe is a professor of constitutional law. The book is a survey of historical, legal, and moral issues related to abortion. Tribe's position is essentially pro-choice. Excerpt.

---------------- "Forward: Toward a Model of Roles in the Due Process of Life and Law," Harvard Law Review, 87 (November, 1973). Excerpt.

Wennberg, Robert N. Life in the Balance: Exploring the Abortion Controversy. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985. Wennberg is a philosopher and Evangelical Christian. He asks not only the questions of interest to secular philosophers, but also the related theological questions. He concludes with a moderate position. While acknowledging a woman's right to abort, he believes that weightier reasons are required as pregnancy continues. He would rely on moral persuasion to reduce the number of abortions.

Willke, John and Barbara. Abortion Questions & Answers. Cincinnati: Hayes Publishing Company, 1985. John and Barbara Willke were trained as a physician and nurse. Both have a long involvement with sex education and abortion related issues. This book, an expanded version of their Handbook on Abortion, is one of the most widely distributed pieces of pro-life literature. It deals with the medical rather than the philosophical aspects of abortion.