Abortion and the Christian Tradition (Paper)

A Pro-choice Theological Ethic

  • 9780664265687
  • 6 x 9
  • 268
  • 87.50
  • Paper
  • 0664265685
  • 10/28/2019
  • 7-10 days processing
$ 40.00


Abortion remains the most contested political issue in American life. Poll results have remained surprisingly constant over the years, with roughly equal numbers supporting and opposing it. A common perception is that abortion is contrary to Christian teaching and values. While some have challenged that perception, few have attempted a comprehensive critique and constructive counterargument on Christian ethical and theological grounds. Margaret Kamitsuka begins with a careful examination of the church’s biblical and historical record, refuting the assumption that Christianity has always condemned abortion or that it considered personhood as beginning at the moment of conception. She then offers carefully crafted ethical arguments about the pregnant woman’s authority to make reproductive decisions and builds a theological rationale for seeing abortion as something other than a sin.

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“In conversation with numerous sources, from the biblical literature and Christian theological traditions to the two main adversary positions in the abortion debate, Margaret Kamitsuka provides a thorough analysis of the argumentations brought forward by pro-life theologians and pro-choice (feminist) theologians and philosophers. She lays open an often-overlooked theological tradition that reveals more pluralism and more contextual sensitivity than the current discussion within Christian theology assumes. In the constructive part of the book, M. Kamitsuka offers her own argumentation: neither equalizing human embryos and fetuses with born persons nor neutralizing their moral status, she reinterprets the Christian tradition in several steps of theological ethical reflection. Kamitsuka integrates insights from process theology, incarnation theology, and feminist theology. Gestational hospitality, she ultimately argues, must be seen as a gift rather than a duty, which places the agency of pregnant women at the center of the moral conflict. Her study is a thorough, unpolemical, and theologically refreshing interpretation that offers a new look at the different voices within the Christian tradition, justifying pro-choice theological ethics as Christian ethics. The book is therefore a must-read for anyone who is interested in an honest discussion of the Christian tradition regarding one of the most contested ethical issues—abortion.” –Prof. Dr. Hille Haker, Richard McCormick Endowed Chair of Ethics, Loyola University Chicago

“An important new scholarly voice in the abortion debate, Kamitsuka not only forcefully engages and challenges pro-life scholarship but develops surprising new avenues for pro-choice theological discourse.” –Rebecca Todd Peters, Ph.D., Professor of Religious Studies, Director of Poverty and Social Justice program, Elon University

“This book bravely charts new territory for contemplating the complexity of questions at the heart of reproductive justice.” – Women in Theology 

"This book accomplishes many things, but its fundamental significance lies in who it includes: women. Within its pages are the voices of pro-life and pro-choice scholars, many of them women; feminist and womanist ethicists, medieval mystics; May, mother God; and vitally, Christian women who have had abortions." -Theology and Sexuality 
"Throughout the book, Kamitsuka offers a constructive, compassionate third way that fully respects the moral agency of women. I recommend this book to readers who want to dig deeply into the philosophical, doctrinal and theological discussion of women's reproductive decisions and come out with a robust theoretical framework for affirming women and supporting their moral authority."
Presbyterian Outlook

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