Life Before Birth

Life Before Birth : The Moral and Legal Status of Embryos and Fetuses, Second Edition

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Life Before Birth provides a coherent framework for addressing bioethical issues in which the moral status of embryos and fetuses is relevant. It is based on the "interest view" which ascribes moral standing to beings with interests, and connects the possession of interests with the capacity for conscious awareness or sentience. The theoretical framework is applied to ethical and legal topics, including abortion, prenatal torts, wrongful life, the crime of feticide, substance abuse by pregnant women, compulsory cesareans, assisted reproduction, and stem cell research. Along the way, difficult philosophical problems, such as identity and the non-identity problem are thoroughly explored. The book will be of interest not only to philosophers, but also physicians, lawyers, policy makers, and anyone perplexed by the many difficulties surrounding the unborn. "Bonnie Steinbock's excellent book is ...consistent, thoroughgoing, and intelligible." -Nature "Steinbock's book is valuable for all interested in the ethical/legal issues surrounding abortion, prenatal injury and liability, maternal-fetal conflict, and fetal/embryo research. The author provides an excellent historical overview of these issues, but she also addresses the issues from the stance of a particular theory of moral status, namely, interest theory. This gives coherence to her discussion as well as allowing testing of the viability of interest theory." -Choice "A focused, lucid, analytically fine-grained discussion of a wide variety of problems...extremely useful as a survey of the current state of the debate." -Religious Studies Review "Merits serious consideration by physicians. Steinbock's interests-based approach treats all questions as open - another and most welcome breath of fresh air." -New England Journal of Medicine "An extremely valuable contribution to the literature. The author carefully identifies the many bioethical issues to which the status of embryos and fetuses is relevant...She thoroughly reviews the extensive medical, bioethical, and legal literature on all of these issues, offering well-developed critiques of many standard positions. She articulates and thoughtfully defends interesting positions on all of theses topics. Anyone with an interest in these issues will learn a great deal from her knowledgeable and judicious treatment of them." - The Journal of Clinical Ethicsshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 25.4mm | 385.55g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 0195341627
  • 9780195341621
  • 95,476

About Bonnie Steinbock

Bonnie Steinbock received her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1974. She began teaching philosophy at the College of Wooster, and moved to the University at Albany in 1977. Her area of specialization is bioethics, particularly reproduction and more

Table of contents

Contents ; Introduction ; 1. The Interest View ; I. Consciousness and Interests ; Is Consciousness Necessary for Having Interests? / ; Is Consciousness Sufficient for Having Interests? ; II. The Interests of Nonconscious Individuals ; Dead People / Permanently Unconscious People / Infants With Anencephaly ; III. Future People ; The Parfit Problem and the Farther Future ; IV. Potential People: Embryos and Fetuses ; 2. Abortion ; I. The Moral Standing of the Fetus ; The Conservative Position/ Fetal Sentience/ Implantation/ The Person View/ The Right to Life ; II. The Argument from Potential ; The Logical Problem/ Contraception and the Moral Standing of Gametes ; III. The Future-Like-Ours Account ; IV. Identity ; The Embodied Mind Account/ The Biological View/ The Interest View and the TRIA/Sentient Fetuses ; V. Possible People ; The Nonidentity Problem ; VI. The Argument from Bodily Self-Determination ; Thomson's Defense of Abortion / Roe v. Wade ; VII. The Moral and Legal Significance of Viability ; Late Abortions/ Partial-Birth Abortion ; 3. Beyond Abortion: The Fetus in Tort and Criminal Law ; I. Recovery for Prenatal Injury in Torts ; Against Third Parties / The Irrelevance of Viability / Preconception Torts Against the Mother / The Woman's Right of Privacy / Automobile Liability ; II. Prenatal Wrongful Death ; Wrongful-Death Actions / Implications for Abortion ; III. The Criminal Law ; Prenatal Neglect/ Homicide ; IV. Wrongful Life Suits ; 4. Maternal-Fetal Conflict ; I. Moral Obligations to the Not-Yet-Born ; Risks to the Fetus/ Legal Drugs/ Illegal Drugs ; II. Pregnant Women and the Law ; Delivering Drugs Through the Umbilical Cord/Criminal Prosectution for Child Abuse or Endagerment/Criminal Prosecution for Homicide/Jailing the Pregnant Addict/Terminaton of Parental Rights/Comulsory Cesarean Sections/The Implications of Roe v. Wade/McFall v. Shrimpand the Duty to Rescue/Less Invasive Cases ; 5. Assisted Reproductive Technology ; I. The Science of ART ; In Vitro Fertilization/ Health Risks to Women/ Health Risks to Offspring ; II. Procreative Liberty and Its Critics ; John Robertson/ Adoption and the Right to Have Biologically Related Children/ Core Values and Penumbral Interests/ The Interests of Children and the Nonidentity Problem ; III. Limits to Procreative Liberty ; Postmenopausal Mothers/ Multiple Births/ Octomom ; IV. Dispositional Problems ; Davis v. Davis/Kass v. Kass ; V. Gamete Donation ; Sperm Donation/ Egg Donation ; 6. Stem Cell Research ; I. The Science ; Adult Stem Cells/Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells/Cloning: Reproductive v. Therapeutic ; II. The Moral Standing of the Human Embryo ; The Twinning Problem/ Respect for Embryos/ Kantian Respect/ Moral Standing v. Moral Value/ The Basis for Ascribing Moral Value to Human Embryos ; III. The Discarded-Created Distinction ; IV. Payment for Oocytes ; V. Chimeras, Hybrids and Cybrids ; VI. Law and Policy in the United States ; Cloning Policy ; VII. Law and Policy in Other Countries ; United Nations Declaration on Human Cloning ; Indexshow more

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