The Moral Case for Abortion

© SpringerBy Ann Furedi
11 August 2016
£19.99 | $39.99 | Hardback | 978-1-137-41118-1


Abortion is contested, stigmatized and demonized despite being practiced throughout human history. Even where it is legal and safe, it remains a political and social battleground. While many oppose abortion on moral grounds, this book turns the common argument around and uses morality to challenge pro-life assumptions.

Ann Furedi’s The Moral Case for Abortion takes a fresh look at the moral side of the abortion debate, setting out the ethical arguments for a woman’s right to choose. A leading pro-choice advocate and chief executive of BPAS, Furedi draws on decades of experience with the UK’s pro-choice organizations to outline why moral consideration is crucial to the abortion issue.

Today, protests against abortion are shaped by a bipolar narrative of right and wrong, of good and evil.  Furedi argues that the pragmatic, practical case for a woman’s right to choose abortion is compelling – but it is not the whole story. Abortion has never been simply an issue about individual health or social benefit, and this focus leaves us with a hopelessly tangled muddle of the personal and the political which satisfies no one. She argues that morality is inextricably linked to the abortion issue and brings the focus back to ethics in an attempt to resolve one of the world’s most polarizing debates. 

Furedi argues that:

  • Every woman should have the right to decide the future of her pregnancy according to her conscience, whatever her reasons or circumstances
  • Abortion should be accepted as a safe, effective means of birth control in modern society
  • Access to abortion is an integral part of women’s reproductive health care and women have the ethical right to receive this along with other supportive services
  • Legal, political, social and economic changes are necessary worldwide to allow women to exercise reproductive choice

Drawing on the traditions of sociological thinking and moral philosophy, Furedi asserts that true respect for human life and regard for individual conscience demand that we respect a woman’s right to decide. She argues that to prevent a woman from making her own choice to continue or end her pregnancy is to undermine her autonomy, integrity and agencywhich are the essence of her humanity.


“In a world of increasingly polarised positions on issues relevant to the human rights of marginalised and oppressed groups, Furedi's philosophical exploration of abortion and its discontents is a breath of fresh air.”
—Julie Bindel,
Guardian journalist, co-founder of the law reform group Justice for Women

“At last, a book that makes the case for the morality of abortion. Furedi takes the tough questions that plague the political and personal minefield that society battles about a woman’s right to choose and confronts them head-on. From the philosophical to the practical, Furedi gives us a handy toolbox of arguments and cutting-edge reflections. This book will embolden advocates—and confound opponents—of bodily autonomy and freedom of conscience.”
—Jon O’ Brien, President, Catholics for Choice

“As someone who provides abortion as the expression of deep conscience, I figured out a long time ago that in addition to being smart enough one has to be ethically good enough to do this work. Ann Furedi, in The Moral Case for Abortion, makes the morality of abortion so profoundly clear that she leaves nothing else to be said.”
—Willie J. Parker, MD, MPH, MSc, reproductive justice advocate and abortion provider

“Ann Furedi is to be greatly congratulated on challenging two assumptions that run through debates about abortion law, both at political and at personal level. The first is that abortion is an intrinsic evil, which though grudgingly permitted by law, is to be avoided if possible. The second is the extraordinary belief that, because to bring about an abortion requires medical intervention, the decision to abort must be dressed up as a medical decision. I hope her challenge will be influential.”
—Baroness Professor Mary Warnock DBE FBA FMedSci, former chair of the Committee of Inquiry into Human fertilisation and Embryology and Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge




About the Author

Ann Furedi is Chief Executive of British Pregnancy Advisory Service, a not-for-profit provider of abortion services in the UK. She is a leading pro-choice advocate and has written extensively on issues relating to pregnancy and birth control.

For more information or to get in touch with the author please contact:

Rebecca Krahenbuhl, rebecca.krahenbuhl@palgrave.com, +44 0207 014 6634