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'To arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time': Heidegger, phenomenology, the way human beings first appear in the world, and fresh perspectives on the abortion debate



'To arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time': Heidegger, phenomenology, the way human beings first appear in the world, and fresh perspectives on the abortion debate



New Bioethics 19(2): 72-83



Intellectual stalemate in the abortion debate can be traced in part to its being framed as a standoff between religion and secular philosophy. While the former is thought to generate a broadly 'pro-life' position, the latter is associated with more 'pro-choice' thinking. This essay attempts to break free of this framing by criticising the philosophy informing 'pro-choice' positions, but not by resorting immediately to religious arguments but rather by drawing upon a rival philosophical tradition--the movement within twentieth and twenty-first Continental philosophy which was and is phenomenology. A phenomenological approach to human 'emergence', and in particular an application of the framework Heidegger developed in Being and Time (1927), leads to a radical questioning of whether contemporary English-speaking beginning-of-life ethics have adequately taken into account the way human beings come forth in the world.

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