Lecture notes

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Published on 22 Apr 2011
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PHLB09 2011 Lecture 6
Harris recap
oIn rape, father has no right against mother that she abstain from
abortion:
Because of rape, father has no "morally legitimate interest" in
fetus
oIn casual sex, father has no right against mother that she abstain
from abortion:
Because father "abandoned" sperm, and so has no claim to the
product of the sperm
oIn case 3, mother and father married, mother knows father wants
babies doesn't tall him she doesn't; becomes pregnant, aborts
Mother wrongs father (says Harris) because she violates his
autonomy (negligence)
oIn case 4, mother tells father she wants babies because she thinks he
needs to hear this to stay around; becomes pregnant, aborts
oCase 5: Anne tells Mark explicitly that she wants babies, convinces
him to reorganize his life for them etc.; becomes pregnant, and aborts
Violation of autonomy
oCase 3 & 4: no contract!
oBasic moral imperative: never violate another's autonomy (Kant)
oIt's wrong even if you don't agree to it explicitly
Problems for Property Model
oProblems in Harris's model:
No contractual obligations to carry fetus to term
Can you "abandon" a sperm?
Is the crime violation of autonomy, or abortion?
Harris claims mother has obligation to carry fetus to term
oBut: not impossible to force person to fulfill contract (tantamount to
slavery)
oThe most that could be enforced would be a fine for emotional
damage/financial damage
oUnder these circumstances, the question of morality in late-term
abortion isn't really answered
Can you abandon sperm?
oHarris says once you abandon sperm, you relinquish rights to it, and
responsibilities toward it
oSo biological father can't demand abortion, can't demand birth, but
also has no duties toward offspring*
Laws of abandonment very tricky:
oWhat counts as "abandoning something?
oLeaving it for a long time
oWhat if you come back and say "I always intended to come back"
Also, it's not clear that you relinquish duties toward anything you abandon
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