Case Against Abortion Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Abortion & Democracy

The author of this report is going to tackle the subject of abortion primarily through the lens of democracy and doing what is right for a republic of people and groups that at are supposedly free and able to do the right thing. The author will use two sources to whittle away at the subject. Namely, the Pojman and Beckwith treatise as well as a sample from Mary Anne Warren will also be employed. While abortion should not be left solely to an up and down vote, the bullying and hard-handed events of extremely thin Supreme Court precedent as well as the antics of some anti-abortion groups should be met in response and with full force of democracy and the true voice of the moral majority of the United States.

Democracy Not Yet At Work

When it comes to the Warren work, a few things come to light. Warren asks the question "how are we to define the moral community, the set of berings with full and equal moral rights, such that we can decide whether a human fetus is a member of this community or not? What sort of entity, exactly, has the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?" (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996). Warren makes an interesting point in that Jefferson ascribed that right to "men" rather than men and women. Also, he said "men" in the sense of grown up boys rather than saying boys and men. Perhaps he was just being concise. Even if Jefferson's statements were not true and pure from a racial motivation, it is clear that he surely meant all living people. Further, he probably meant that it would be all people that were living and not just those with voting powers, money and influence. Indeed, he surely meant boys, girls, men and women. The question would then become what defines a "boy" or a "girl." Surely, one cannot use the metric of whether the boy or girl could take care of themselves within the "real world" with no assistance because there are very few boys or girls that could say that with a straight face. Using the dependent or non-dependent clause in general gets even murkier in today's United States because there are many people that are grown, able-bodied and so forth that are dependent but it is not legal or morally acceptable to kill them with no recourse or consequences (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

One of the possible issues in having a democracy is when there are laws that do not say the same thing about a person's status. Laws can vary based on state and local level, but they can also vary within the same jurisdiction. For example, if two women are in a romantic relationship and they get into a fight, then that would be deemed to be domestic violence and/or battery to most local or county authorities. However, one might ask the question whether that is proper or sustainable if the law says that the women cannot legally get married while men and women in relationships can get married. In much the same way, that rough point is being made on the first page of the source offered via the biomedical ethics book. For example, there are three points offered. The first is that it is wrong to kill innocent human beings. The second point is that fetuses are innocent human beings. The third point, an amalgamation and logical conclusion to the first two points, says that it is wrong to kill fetuses (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

However, that is not always upheld in the law. In fact, some people and groups might be quick to suggest that an assault against a fetus is NOT a "victim" when it comes to an assault. For example, if a woman is six months pregnant, that is at the edge of the third trimester which is typically the "no trespassing" line when it comes to abortion. It is also accepted by many to be the point where a baby could theoretically survive outside the womb. If that woman is attacked and the attack causes the baby to be stillborn or otherwise cease to be a viable fetus, then many would hold that a charge of murder should be held against the attacker or attackers who caused that event. On the other hand, let us say that she is barely outside the third trimester and got an abortion on that same day. The question becomes…is it murder or not? If a thug on the street attacks the woman and the fetus ends up "dying," then it is either murder or it is not murder. If it is not murder, then what the woman did with the abortion example is not murder either. However, if it was murder when the thug did it, then it is technically murder when the abortion happened. Of course, that is not Supreme Court precedent and has not been since Roe v. Wade in the 1970's. However, a fetus (viable outside the womb) or not is either a life or it is not. It should either be protected by the law all of the time or it should never be protected by the law. At least, that is the way it should be in terms of how the laws are drawn up. If a nurse or medical person causes a stillbirth due to negligence, there are charges other than murder than can be brought up to punish and deal with that person. In any event, the question becomes how to answer that question and how it should be enforced (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

Democracy is alive in the scientific community when it comes to what is "alive" and what is not. Indeed, there was the work of Noonan, who said that fetuses should be human beings because they possess a full genetic code and that they possess the capacity for rational thought. If people can agree, in a vote or in general, that this is true, then fetuses should be considered human beings and should be protected as such. Of course, when one is speaking about abortion, the moral community and democracy, one has to ask how to define and quantify the moral community. The same sorts of questions come into play. If one suggests that all human beings are part of the moral community, then that would technically have to involve all children, infants and fetuses. This clearly would not work from a procedural or practical level. Only humans that are born, developed and, for the sake of argument, are adults should really be involved with the moral community. In short, the democracy of the true and established moral community would have purview over people that are technically part of the human race but are not developed or old enough to be part of the voting block of said race. Indeed, the Mappes book uses the following five things that make a person's "personhood" sufficient enough to be a member of the moral community:

1) Consciousness: This would refer to consciousness of objects and events external and/or internal to the being under review. In particular, it would refer to the capacity for the person to feel pain (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

2) Reasoning: This would refer to the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

3) Self-motivated Activity: This would refer to activity that is relatively independent and is of either genetic or direct external control (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

4) Communication: The capacity to communicate and converse with others through any number of means. Messages would be of an indefinite variety of different types and forms and could be relating to any number of topics (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

5) Presence of Self-Concept and Self-Awareness: For a person to be truly alive and within the realm of personhood, they should be self-aware and they should have a self-concept (Mappes & DeGrazia, 1996).

Obviously, people that vote in a democracy are going to exemplify these characteristics. However, there are plenty of other people that cannot vote (or do not want to) that exemplify these characteristics. Some would argue that this list of person types and personhood types should include fetuses. Surely, a fetus has some level of awareness of its own existence and its surrounding, at least at the latter part of its life in the mother's belly. Some people focus on the idea that a person may be a human being but does not yet have life. Obviously, this person would not have a voice or a vote in a democracy. That may happen in the future but it may never happen. The opposite would happen, however, when speaking of someone who at least at one time had a consciousness and point of thought but had it, as the Mappes book puts it, it got "obliterated." While there may be exceptions (e.g. Terri Schiavo), many hold that these are people and are protected under…

Sources Used in Document:


Mappes, T., & DeGrazia, D. (1996). Biomedical ethics. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pojman, L., & Beckwith, F. (1998). The abortion controversy. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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