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By Richard A. McCormick

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But he would not and does Page 52 not hesitate in the simple instance where abortion (of a fetus who will perish under any circumstances) is necessary to save the mother's life. Does this not indicate that in this latter instance the crucial and decisive consideration is that it is better on all counts in such circumstances to save one life where my only alternative is to lose two? Does it not indicate that the procedure is legitimate precisely for this reason? And does it not then follow that "acting directly against a basic good" need not be interpreted within the deontological understanding of direct and indirect that Grisez provides?

For that preference is simply not clear. Furthermore, such a Page 50 preference gets one into the functional and utilitarian valuations of life that Grisez so rightly abhors. What is the justificationor proportionate reason? Is it not that we are faced here with two alternatives (either abort, or do not abort)? Both alternatives are destructive but one is more destructive than the other. We could allow both mother and child (who will perish under any circumstances) to die; or we could at least salvage one life.

If, however, the process is divisible and the good effect occurs as a result of a subsequent act, we are dealing with means to end, or with effects not equally immediate. " Similarly, organ transplants that will involve deprivation of life or health to the donor are immoral because the two aspects (excision, implant) are factually separable. Grisez applies this analysis to many instances involving killing. He contends that it is never permissible directly to take human life. For him, capital punishment Page 45 cannot be justified.

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