Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Reply to Richard Myers

Dear Richard,

Your invocation of Dr. Kevorkian suggests to me that you may not grasp Rob Vischer's point.

Assume (1) that objective O is a morally worthy objective (e.g., saving the life of a pregnant woman with an ectopic pregnancy).

Assume (2) that under the doctrine of double effect it is it is morally permissible for me to take action A (e.g., surgically remove the fallopian tube) in order to achieve O even though A will result in the death of Z (e.g., the fetus).

Assume (3) that I can achieve O by killing Z intentionally--and that the advantage of this latter course of action over action A is that I can achieve something else that is morally worthy (e.g., preserving the woman's capacity to bear children).

Given that no matter which of the two paths I take Z is going to die, and given that it is morally permissible for me to take action A, why should we accept that it is morally impermissible for me to kill Z intentionally, thereby achieving something that is morally worthy at no cost to Z, who is going to die no matter which choice I make?



Perry, Michael | Permalink

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