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