Abortion Aborting a Living Human Fetus Is Term Paper

  • Length: 5 pages
  • Subject: Women's Issues - Abortion
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #86438128

Excerpt from Term Paper :


Aborting a living human fetus is morally wrong because taking one's life away from them is "one of the greatest losses one can suffer" (Marquis, 1989, p. 4) and causing that person to suffer that great a loss is a morally wrong thing to do. There is a plethora of material on abortion -- both pro-choice and anti-abortion -- that focuses on how to best determine what is a human, or a human person. There is plenty of available literature that determines why abortion is wrong, and an equally wide array of literature on why abortion is morally acceptable. It seems that both sides have marshaled their forces to crush their opposition. One side appeals to man's spiritual or theological side while the other appeals to the scientific side. One argues that a person is not really a person unless it is a reasoning entity, while the other argues that as soon as a cell is created it becomes a person.

From a theological viewpoint killing is wrong and most theologians do not discriminate on the age of the person being killed. According to some pro-choice advocates, a human being is not really a person until they age of reasoning is reached. If that is true, then there is no difference between terminating a pregnancy and terminating a toddler's existence in this life. Killing a toddler is much more abhorrent to most, yet the same people are much more likely to agree to the sensibility of an abortion.

Mary Anne Warren states "it is clear that genetic humanity is neither necessary nor sufficient for establishing that an entity is a person" and then extrapolates that "some human beings are not people, and there may well be people who are not human beings" (pp. 436/437).

This seems to be a bunch of hooey made up by someone who so firmly believes that abortion is a right, that they will use any lack of logic to back their support of abortion. Then we have Judith Jarvis Thomson making an even more spurious attach on those who are against abortion; she does this by providing an example of having a famous violinist connected to someone else's body for nine months, in order to ensure that the violinist does not die.

What type of argument is that for someone who is defending abortion? It is an argument that is an utterly idiotic one for the most part. Concluding that abortion is a right of the mother similar to the right of a mother to not have a famous violinist connected to her for nine months is not an argument at all. It's a lot like comparing apples to oranges, they are both a member of the fruit family, but that's it. Thomson also states that "we shall probably have to agree that the fetus has already become a human person well before birth" (p. 69) and then backs up that premise by showing how the fetus has already developed human characteristics by the tenth week; she states "by the tenth week, for example, it already has a face, arms and legs, fingers and toes; it has internal organs, and brain activity is detectable" (p. 69). She makes the best argument against abortion by agreeing that the fetus is already a human person, but then argues for abortion anyway.

In previous eras many theologians refused to "discriminate among human beings on the basis of their varying potentialities" (Noonan, 1970, p. 51). Instead, according to Noonan, the "criterion for humanity, thus, was simple and all embracing: if you are conceived by human parents, you are human" (p. 51). Today's modern society does not seem to embrace that concept as evenly as it was embraced in the past.

Thomson argues that "Opponents of abortion commonly spend most of their time establishing that the fetus is a person, and hardly any time explaining the step from there to the impermissibility of abortion, perhaps they think the step too simple and obvious to require much comment" (p. 7). Perhaps Thomson has not truly been listening, or just refuses to acknowledge that the next step is simple and obvious. It has been stated eloquently and completely again and again, that if a fetus is a person, then taking the life of that fetus is an act that is morally wrong. It is morally wrong because of the great loss endured by that person.

In terms of everyday language an abortion is a "termination of pregnancy and expulsion of an embryo or of a fetus that is incapable of survival" (abortion, 2012). The same dictionary describes an embryo as "an organism in its early stages of development" (embryo, 2012). In other words, an organism in its early stages of development is terminated due to its incapacity to survive. This description has nothing whatsoever to do with terminating pregnancies due to the choice of the mother.

The pro-choice crowd would have society believe that we have evolved to a point where we no longer need consider the theological viewpoint, that society should only adhere to the premise that we consider people as people but only after they have attained certain faculties and capacities living outside the womb. The conundrum with that line of thinking is that like an "an explanation of a truth expressed by Aristotle, namely, that moral knowledge -- unlike mathematical knowledge -- cannot be acquired merely by attending lectures and is not characteristically to be found in people too young to have had much experience of life" (Aristotle).

In other words, infants who have not yet developed a sense of morality are being put in grave distress by the very people who should be looking out for their well-being, and who (it is assumed) have already developed a moral compass that guides them into what is right and what is wrong.

Understanding how abortion affects society is a key to the abortion issue. If it is assumed that killing is a morally reprehensible action, and that taking the life of a person or even the taking of a life of an embryo that has not yet developed moral knowledge is a killing, then society is allowing morally reprehensible actions to take place on a rather common occurrence. The premise can be made that morally reprehensible actions on the part of an individual can have rather devastating consequences, both for the individual and on his or her loved ones, colleagues, friends and acquaintances. A follow through on that premise is that if the individual is experiencing the devastating effects that can come from reprehensible actions taken by the individual, and that the ripple effects are such that others are negatively impacted, then it could be further surmised that those individuals who were affected directly by the action can also directly affect others (negatively) who may not have experienced the action first hand. The ripple effect would continue to other individuals, until (conceivably) all of society could be affected in a negative manner.

An excellent example of the viability of this premise is the moral decline of a number of societies throughout history. One need only peruse the Old Testament to understand exactly how quickly society can degenerate through actions that are not morally acceptable. Even if the Bible is used only as a reference to past societies instead of a theological guidebook for human society, the stories remain the same.

When choosing morally reprehensible actions, society degenerates. As one recent study determined "those who view morality through more of a cultural capital lens often times see morality as a stable set of social values -- an important resource that needs to be transmitted between generations" (Kang, Glassman, 2010, p. 21). Or as another expert writes "acting rightly is difficult, and does call for much moral wisdom" (Hursthouse, p. 4).…

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