The Ezra Klein Show
The Ezra Klein Show
New York Times Opinion
The Ethics of Abortion
When Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked a few weeks ago, it signaled that Roe v. Wade appears likely to be overturned in a matter of weeks. If Roe falls, questions about the right to abortion will re-enter the realm of electoral politics in a way they haven’t for 50 years. States will be solely in charge of determining whether abortion is permitted, under what conditions it should be permitted, and what the appropriate thresholds are for making those decisions. That means ordinary voters and their representatives will be forced to grapple with the moral — even metaphysical — quandaries at the heart of the abortion debate. What does it mean to belong to the human species, and when does that belonging begin? Is there a bright line at which an egg, a blastula, or a fetus attains the status of “person”? And how do we weigh the competing interests of mothers, families, and fetuses against one another? Those are the questions I wanted to place at the center of this conversation because they are the foundation on top of which everything else in this debate is built. Kate Greasley is a law professor at the University of Oxford in the U.K., where she studies, among other things, the legal and moral philosophy of abortion. She’s the author of “Arguments About Abortion: Personhood, Morality, and Law,” and co-author of “Abortion Rights: For and Against” alongside Christopher Kaczor, a philosopher who opposes abortion. While Greasley ultimately believes in the right to choose, she does a remarkably comprehensive job of carefully and fairly considering all the arguments, contradictions and nuances of this issue. We discuss why both progressives and conservatives should be open to questioning their preconceptions about abortion, what the Bible does — and doesn’t — suggest about abortion, why the status of fetal life is _the_ central question at the heart of abortion ethics, whether life begins at conception or emerges later in fetal development, how the complex, messy moral intuitions that most of us have around questions of life and death don’t lend themselves neatly to either an abortion rights or anti-abortion camp, why late-term abortions pose particularly challenging moral questions, how the pregnant person’s bodily autonomy weighs against the fetus’s and more. Mentioned: “Can Fetuses Feel Pain?” by Stuart Derbyshire Book recommendations: Beyond Roe by David Boonin Abortion: Three Perspectives by Michael Tooley, Celia Wolf-Devine, Philip E. Devine and Alison M. Jaggar About Abortion by Carol Sanger Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
1 hr 12 min
WNYC Studios
This week, we bring you two stories about little guys trying to do big big things. First, self-proclaimed animal grinch producer Becca Bressler introduces us to perhaps the one creature that has warmed her heart: a cricket. And more specifically, a male cricket. This is a tale about a tiny Romeo insect trying to find a mate, and the ingenious lengths he’ll go to have his beckoning heard. And second, producer Annie McEwen journeys through perhaps the zaniest game of football that has ever been played. When a ragtag group of players take on the top team, will it be an underdog tale for the ages or an absolute disaster? Special thanks to Stephen Spann and Joshua Baxter at the Doris and Harry Vice University Library at Cumberland University as well as Alison Reynolds at Georgia Tech Library. Thanks also to Rick Bell, and to Scott Larson who wrote a book all about this game called Cumberland: The True Story of the Highest Scoring Football Game in History. And finally, thanks so much to our tape syncer Ambriehl Crutchfield for her help with this episode. If you’re still interested in learning more about this epic football game, be sure to check out this brilliant and hilarious video by sportswriter Jon Bois. Lastly, don't forget to check out Death Sex and Money. We recommend episode titled Hard, which is deep dive into our relationship with erectile dysfunction, and the drugs developed to treat it. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab today. Radiolab is on YouTube! Catch up with new episodes and hear classics from our archive. Plus, find other cool things we did in the past — like miniseries, music videos, short films and animations, behind-the-scenes features, Radiolab live shows, and more. Take a look, explore and subscribe!
36 min
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