Beating Hearts

Beating Hearts

Abortion and Animal Rights

Book - 2016
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How can someone who condemns hunting, animal farming, and animal experimentation also favor legal abortion, which is the deliberate destruction of a human fetus? The authors of Beating Hearts aim to reconcile this apparent conflict and examine the surprisingly similar strategic and tactical questions faced by activists in the pro-life and animal rights movements.

Beating Hearts maintains that sentience, or the ability to have subjective experiences, grounds a being's entitlement to moral concern. The authors argue that nearly all human exploitation of animals is unjustified. Early abortions do not contradict the sentience principle because they precede fetal sentience, and Beating Heart s explains why the mere potential for sentience does not create moral entitlements. Late abortions do raise serious moral questions, but forcing a woman to carry a child to term is problematic as a form of gender-based exploitation. These ethical explorations lead to a wider discussion of the strategies deployed by the pro-life and animal rights movements. Should legal reforms precede or follow attitudinal changes? Do gory images win over or alienate supporters? Is violence ever principled? By probing the connections between debates about abortion and animal rights, Beating Hearts uses each highly contested set of questions to shed light on the other.
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, [2016]
ISBN: 9780231175142
Branch Call Number: 179.3 COLB S
Characteristics: viii, 252 pages ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Dorf, Michael C. - Author


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Apr 15, 2018

This is a really unusual book that is filled with a perspective and some ideas that were new to me. Sherry Colb is one of my favorite authors and in addition to being a distinguished law professor at Cornell University, is also the daughter of two Holocaust survivors. Her father in fact, was not only a survivor but actively rescued over a 1000 children as well, and Colb has written an incredible essay about how her family history has shaped her here:
Her husband is also a law professor and nationally recognized legal scholar and this book is a collaboration between them both.
There were a few parts I had to reread several times to grasp the meaning -- but mostly the book was engaging, easy to understand and kept me wanting to read on.
By juxtaposing the issues of abortion and animal rights next to each other, this book raises many interesting moral questions while providing some additional lenses through which to look at each. If you care about either of these issues, I'd highly recommend taking a look at this book.


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