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Skip Navigation LinksJRI > Archive > July-September 2003, Volume 4, Issue 3 > Battle of Life: A Brief Study of Theories on Abortion



Volume 4, Issue 3, Number 15 / July-September
(pages 220-236)


Battle of Life: A Brief Study of Theories on Abortion




 Corresponding Author
Department of Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


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Abstract
Despite decades of hard attempts of our predecessors during the last century, resulting in a thought and system of human rights at both national and international level, we still witness emotional, violent and irrational conflict and fight between opponents and proponents of abortion. This practical battle could not be tackled unless one probes in depth into theoretical foundations of the subject so as to construct a justifiable view in this regard. For this aim, this article attempt to set forth claims of major theories of abortion and also to evaluate those claims. Accordingly, at first stage, the problem of abortion will be depicted from a theoretical perspective. Secondly, as one of the oldest theories, “theory of life sacredness” shall be delineated. This attitude is known as the pro-life theory. Also, it is worth noting that many of religious/ethical claims are put forward in this term. Thirdly, ”theory of free-will” in defense of abortion will be explicated. This theory, known as the pro-choice attitude, has been a vehicle for most of liberal and feminist claims on the issue. It appears that the last mentioned two theories have taken a general and simple stance for or against the termination of fetus life. Could one avoid such a simple and general attitude and take another stance? Fourthly, and in this regard, “theory of investment value” that approaches to the problem in a different way, shall be elucidated. From this perspective, the question of termination of fetus life is entirely dependent on the amount of investment and it’s value. Fifthly, another theory that endeavors to put forth a different analysis of the problem, “theory of person or conscious entity” shall be spelled out. Advocates of such a theory make an effort to sufficiently attend to all constituent elements of the problem – such as freedom, life, value of investment, parents and fetus – that might seem conflicting or even contradictory. Finally, it will be attempted to make a conclusion. Abortion, entangled between facts related to emotions, population growth rate and economics, on one hand, and religious, ideological and ethical value judgments, on the other, requires a theoretical attention by scholars and policy makers of a “human” and “dynamic” society.

Keywords: Abortion, Life sacredness theory, Free-will theory, Investment value theory, Person or conscious entity theory


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