Pro Choice: Abortion is Moral

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To clearly understand the premises of abortion, we must first establish the definition of what it means to be a human. The traits at which Mary Anne Warren describe in her article On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion are; consciousness, the ability to feel pain, reasoning, self-motivated activity, the capacity to communicate, and ultimately self-awareness. To further this point, “a man or woman whose consciousness has been permanently obliterated but who remains alive is a human being which is no longer a person; defective human beings, with no appreciable mental capacity, are not and presumably never will be people; and a fetus is a human being which is not yet a person, and which therefore cannot coherently be said to have full moral rights.” A fetus cannot reason, communicate, or engage in self-motivated activity. If the right to life of a fetus is to be based upon its resemblance to a person, it can easily be decided that abortion is, in fact, moral under these premises.

Along with the defining traits of a person and how they determine if the subject has a right to life, another concerning point is the possible “potential” the unborn fetus may have. Yes, everything in life has potential, but as for a fetus, this does not serve as a strong enough point. There is no reason to be sure of a fetus’ potential because that is uniformly impossible to know, therefore its potential is uncertain.

“Since the rights of any actual person invariably outweigh those of any potential person; neither a fetus’s resemblance to a person, nor its potential for becoming a person provides any basis whatever for the claim that it has any significant right to life. Consequently, a woman’s right to protect her health, happiness, freedom, and even her life,’ by terminating an unwanted pregnancy, will always override whatever right to life it may be appropriate to ascribe to a fetus, even a fully developed one.”

By agreeing that abortion is immoral, the underlying issue is that you would also be agreeing that an already living human being would not have the rights to her own body or to make her own choices that would greatly impact her future. Some may say in this case that the woman is only obligated to house the unborn fetus for the 9 month period she is pregnant. What happens after that? Would it then also be fair to say that she is obligated to take care of this child for the rest of her life? To sacrifice her time and money in order to take care of the child when she could be putting her time and money towards her own “potential.” Pregnancies not only take a tremendous toll on a woman’s physical body but also, and more importantly, her mental health and emotional state. Is it fair for a woman to have to sacrifice her physical and mental health for a child that by definition is not even a person? I would argue that the answer would be no.

“A pregnant woman’s right to protect her own life and health clearly outweighs other people’s desire that the fetus be preserved-just as, when a person’s life or limb is threatened by some wild animal, and when the threat cannot be removed without killing the animal, the person’s right to self-protection outweighs the desires of those who would prefer that the animal not be harmed.”

Infanticide is a term some people use as an idea that supports anti-abortion. The claim is that the child is still a child whether it’s in the womb or out of the womb, but infanticide has more issues surrounding the morality of it than simply just abortion. The difference between infanticide and abortion is that once a child is already born it poses no threat to the mother whereas a fetus feeding off of a mother’s body could do so. This point becomes irrelevant due to the fact that one of the reasons abortion is seen to be moral is to protect the mother’s rights to her body and her life.

Generally speaking, the article “Mary Anne Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion”: Women who are already living healthy, happy lives are morally entitled to abortion due to the fetus only having “potential”.

The pro-life view is, in short, the idea that morally speaking a woman cannot choose to abort her own child. In this logic, the woman does not have a choice to her own body. The logic of this concept is completely flawed. What makes it more “morally correct” to have the general population to be able to choose what a woman does with her body than the woman. If the dilemma that pro-life supporters are facing is that the woman can not decide whether the fetus lives or dies because the fetus “is a person” and has its own “right to life,” then how could they deny a woman of her choices as she is an actual living and breathing being who already has her right to live? Let’s say, for example, that this mother could not communicate, feel any pain, or have any reason. By Mary Anne Warren’s definition, she is not a person. Should she then have the right to choose if the baby lives? The answer is quite obviously no. So using the same idea, this fetus who can not communicate does not feel pain, and can not reason should not be a priority over a woman who is already a being.

If the stance now, is on the morality of abortion then the idea of contraception should also be taken into consideration. Abortion prevents the unborn fetus from being born. Contraception prevents the sperm from fertilizing an egg, or in some cases, stops ovulation completely. The entire purpose is to prevent women from having children in a way that is safe for a woman’s body. In the same sense, contraception could very well be considered some form of abortion. Of course, birth control prevents eggs from becoming embryos, and from embryos becoming fetus’, to ultimately becoming children. The only difference is it is earlier on in this process that contraception is put into play. Undoubtedly, this process completely eliminates the possibility of having a child or giving this child a potential to live. If the issue with abortion is that it prevents the potential of bringing a living being into this world, then contraception would consequently also be looked at as morally unjust.

Another position to look at in this case is that if a fetus is known to be developing with horrible disabilities that would cause the child a life of suffering or the fetus was expected to only live a few short hours or days after it was born. The question posed would be if it is correct to deny a woman of aborting a child that is medically known to have no potential in life or live a life of pain and suffering. Joy Freeman speaks about her dilemma to terminate her child in the case that “[Her] baby was diagnosed with spina bifida at a routine scan about halfway through the pregnancy. The prognosis was not good: major, life-saving surgery at birth, no walking, probably no talking. The likelihood that he would survive childhood was murky”. The thought process goes as so; you either give birth to a child that will never live a life of quality and is at high risk to suffer or die, or you prevent the suffering from ever happening. It seems as if the option that leads to less suffering would be the latter.

One of the most controversial topics within the concept of abortion is the “accidental pregnancies” or “slip ups”. While at first glance there are many arguments that claim people should act more responsibly and use protection, the majority of the times that accidents happen the protection doesn’t hold up. So now the criticism is that if a couple was not hoping to become pregnant, they should not be having intercourse in the first place. This logic is extremely outdated to be blunt. In this modern time, intercourse and not distinctively used in an effort to reproduce but to show love to someone you feel a deep connection with. Modern technology such as condoms, the pill, IUDs and so on was specifically and intentionally created to keep up to date with the advancements in our society.

Obviously not perfected yet, sometimes these methods are not completely bulletproof and fail. To analogize contraception in the words of Judith Jarvis Thomson; if you are sitting in your home and you open a window and a thief comes inside your house, it would be ridiculous to believe that that thief has a right inside your home because you are responsible for opening the window. Of course, you are aware that thieves exist in the world and that by opening up the window, you were the reason he intruded. It would be even more ridiculous to assume that if you had some sort of protection such as window screens or bars to prevent intruders, he would still be welcome inside because the security of your window had an irregularity.

Cite this paper

Pro Choice: Abortion is Moral. (2021, Oct 05). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/pro-choice-abortion-is-moral/

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