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Abortion: Application of Natural Law Theory and the ‘Double Effect’ Principle

18 Mar 2011

The principle of double effect implies that an inherently good action, which may possibly cause a bad effect, is morally justified in some cases Рbut only if four specific conditions are met (click here to read about the four conditions). In the case of abortion, how does this principle apply? In this article, Dianne N. Irving tackles this very difficult ethical question.

“One moral distinction is between: (1) inherently bad actions (e.g., abortion); and, (2) inherently good (or neutral) medical actions which are permitted, even though bad effects would result, in order to save the life of the mother (e.g., the giving of chemotherapy treatments, or the removal of a cancerous uterus, etc.).”