Abortion: Issues on Moral Status

Length: 6 Pages 1454 Words

Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in both the social and political arena today. The two main arguments for and against the issue is based upon whether the unborn fetus can be seen as human or not, and whether this humanity can be compared to the humanity of the mother. It should also be recognized however that the abortion issue has many more subtle issues that are attached. A person who has been raped and falls pregnant as a result, for example, could not be seen in the same light as a person who had consensual sex without some form of protection. Also, a mother whose life is endangered by the pregnancy, or a baby whose quality of life will be severely impeded by deformity are also considered as cases in which abortion is more permissible than in the case of a problem free pregnancy. In considering the moral status of the fetus, one should therefore also consider additional problematic factors, such as rape, particularly. While I therefore do believe that the moral status of the unborn child is a primarily important factor in the abortion issue, I also believe that this should only be applied in cases where the pregnancy is normal and free from outside issues such as violence or rape. An important issue to Continue...


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Tooley does not ascribe the right to life to an infant, because such an infant does not have the awareness of wanting such life. If a baby can expect to have a reasonably productive and potentially happy future, Marquis uses this as a premise for believing that fetuses are indeed human from the point of conception. I am much more inclined to accept Marquis' explanation of moral status than those of Thomson and Tooley. External factors that directly pertain to the mother's FLO, quality of life, and general well-being, should also be taken into account. If there is a good FLO possibility for the baby, I believe that this should also be permitted. In conclusion, I believe that the moral status of an unborn baby has strong implications for the abortion debate. Moral status refers to the humanity of the unborn child. If the baby were for example to expect an FLO, but the life of the mother would be in danger if the baby were to be carried and delivered after the pregnancy term, it appears that Marquis still opposes abortion on the grounds of the expected FLO for the baby, but not for the mother. Firstly, it appears that Marquis does not approve of abortion even if the baby was conceived by violent events such as rape. However, the moral status of the baby as human precludes the abortion of a healthy baby. While Marquis does take into account the possibility of the child not having the expectation of an FLO, he does not take this into account for the mother, who certainly is as human as her baby. Indeed, these directly influence the same elements for the child. For this reason, I do not believe, as mentioned above, that the baby's moral status is the only factor that should be taken into account for the debate. This profoundly affects the mother, even though the baby still has the expectation of an FLO, and even though the pregnancy holds no danger for either child or mother. The author goes on to terrible examples of torture and killing, attempting to prove that it is more wrong to torture than kill a kitten or a newborn baby.

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