Is there a discrepancy?

From: John or Carol Burgeson (
Date: Mon Dec 16 2002 - 11:37:44 EST

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    A correspondent, referring to some of my recent posts, suggests that my
    position of not ruling out abortion in all cases (based on the
    complexities of real situations) and my apparent certainty that killing
    the Amalekite infants (I Sam 15) are ethically in conflict with one

    I do not see a conflict myself. There are cases where abortion may be
    seen as the lesser evil of two possible actions. One may, of course,
    argue that in any specific case (I have six cases documented on my
    website) that the action of abortion is still "more wrong" than the
    inaction of allowing the pregnancy to continue. In the six cases
    documented such an argument is, I think, hard to defend. The only grounds
    I have encountered for any of them is a rule-based ethic which says "no
    abortion under any circumstances." But such a rule is, itself, hard to
    justify, even for a biblical literalist.

    One correspondent insisted that a consequentialist ethical argument is
    always suspect and that only rule based ethical reasoning is valid (I
    don't know how he would view "virtue ethics," the third category of
    ethical reasoning). I have to reject this argument, for no matter how
    complex the rule is made, there will almost always be situations not
    envisaged by the rulemakers. It is a rare (and morally obtuse) person
    who would stop and wait for a red traffic light at 3 AM at a deserted
    intersection when rushing his dying child to the emergency room.

    John Burgeson
            (an eclectic web site about science/theology, quantum mechanics,
             ethics, baseball, humor, cars, philosophy, etc.)

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