Twin pregnancy, fetal reduction and the 'all or nothing problem’

Journal of Medical Ethics 48 (2):101-105 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Fetal reduction is the practice of reducing the number of fetuses in a multiple pregnancy, such as quadruplets, to a twin or singleton pregnancy. Use of assisted reproductive technologies increases the likelihood of multiple pregnancies, and many fetal reductions are done after in vitro fertilisation and embryo transfer, either because of social or health-related reasons. In this paper, I apply Joe Horton’s all or nothing problem to the ethics of fetal reduction in the case of a twin pregnancy. I argue that in the case of a twin pregnancy, there are two intuitively plausible claims: abortion is morally permissible, and it is morally wrong to abort just one of the fetuses. But since we should choose morally permissible acts rather than impermissible ones, the two claims lead to another highly implausible claim: the woman ought to abort both fetuses rather than only one. Yet, this does not seem right. A plausible moral theory cannot advocate such a pro-death view. Or can it? I suggest ways to solve this problem and draw implications for each solution. There are no data in this work.

Author's Profile

Joona Räsänen
University of Turku

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-12-21

Downloads
779 (#21,022)

6 months
172 (#21,289)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?