Abortion When does life actually begin? When, if ever, is it right to terminate a pregnancy? These are some of the moral dilemmas that are faced when dealing with the issue of abortion. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. There are many different stands held on the issue of abortion. For those holding a conservative view on abortion, abortion is never acceptable except when necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. In contrast, the liberal view believes that abortion is always ethically acceptable at any point of fetal development, and for any reason. Finally, there are those in the middle, that hold the moderate view.

They believe that abortion is ethically acceptable up to a certain point of fetal development and that some reasons are acceptable. Mary Anne Warrens Argument for Abortion Mary Anne Warrens stand on abortion is that of a liberal one. In her article, On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion, she concludes that “..a womens 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.” (pg.16, Mappes) Warren believes that abortion is permittable because the fetus is not a fully developed person with moral characteristics; they are human beings that are not yet a person. She contends that in order to be considered a human, we must satisfy five traits. These five traits are: 1 consciousness (of objects and events external and/or internal to the being), and in particular the capacity to feel pain: 2 reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems); 3 self-motivated activity (activity which is relatively independent of either genetic or direct external control); 4 the capacity to communicate, by whatever means, messages of an indefinite variety of types, that is, not just with an indefinite number of possible contents, but on indefinitely many possible topics; 5 the presence of self-concepts and self-awareness, wither individual or racial, or both. (pg.12, Mappes) And since a fetus does not possess these five characters, she believes that they are not entitled to have full moral status, and may be terminated during any stage of pregnancy.

To support her conclusion she uses creative stories, such as a story about if we landed on a planet how would we be able to distinguish the aliens as those holding morals such as ourselves, or things in which we could eat. She also uses another story about if we were captured by aliens who wanted to make genetic copies of ourselves, by which we would actually loose our life. She says that no matter how many lives would be made out of us, we should not have to give up our freedom for others. These stories are also the main strengths in her argument because it makes the reader look at the issue of abortion in a different light. By using these stories, the reader is convinced to take a deeper look into his or her opinion.

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The weaknesses to her argument is that if we were to support her argument, that pregnancy should be able to be terminated at any stage, then we could fall into a slippery slope. Another weakness to this argument is that abortion could end up being another form of birth control for those who are irresponsible. Instead of it being for those who actually have valid reasons, it becomes available to anyone for any reason, therefore simply becoming another form of birth control. Finally, she fails to mention that abortions can be damaging to a womens health. She talks about how it is our bodies and that we have a right to do what we want to, to keep them healthy, but fails to bring to our attention that abortions are not healthy for us. Don Marquis Argument against Abortion In contrast to Marry Anne Warren, Marquis holds a conservative view on abortion. In the article, “Why Abortion is Immoral,” Marquis concludes that “This essay sets out an argument that purports to show..that abortion..is seriously immoral, that it is in the same moral category as killing an innocent adult human being.”(pg.27, Mappes) The main reasons backing up his argument are, for one, simply that it is wrong to kill us.

When we are killed we suffer the greatest loss of all, our life. Second, killing us deprives us of our future experiences; depriving us of our future deprives us of more than perhaps any other crime. And third, since a fetus possess a property, the possession of which in adult beings is sufficient to make killing an adult human being wrong, then abortion is also wrong. Marquis main strength in his argument against abortion is that it sets up a strong stand that killing of any kind, especially of those that are our future is always wrong. There are also weaknesses to the argument as well.

For one, he compares the killing of us to the killing of animals, therefore basically implying that we are at the same moral status as animals, which I think many would not agree with and look down upon. As well, the article itself was not all that clear or interesting; the author seemed to jump around a bit, and not express his opinion very strongly. I was not as convinced by his argument as I was for Warrens argument, not that I am for either ones argument, merely that Warrens argument was much stronger. My Argument on Abortion Abortion is a very serious and complicated issue. I would have to say that I am firm on my stand that abortion is a womens choice to a certain degree; therefore I feel that I hold the moderate view on abortion. The reasons for my opinion being more to the middle of the extreme views is that the destruction of any life should not be merely up to ourselves to decide.

Abortion should not be a solution to our irresponsible actions, nor should it not be allowed to those really needing to terminate their pregnancy. If abortion were available to all women for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, we would become desensitized to the fact that a life is actually being destroyed. Likewise, if abortion was only available to those in order to save their lives, or because they were raped, then there would be a lot of unwanted infants in this world being neglected and not being cared for. Bibliography Mappes, Thomas A. and Jane S.Zembaty 1997 Social Ethics Morality and Social Policy.

New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Abortion Almost half of American women have terminated at least one pregnancy, and millions more Americans of both sexes have helped them, as partners, parents, health-care workers, counselors, friends. Collectively, it would seem, Americans have quite a bit of knowledge and experience of abortion. Yet the debate over legal abortion is curiously abstract: we might be discussing brain transplants. Farfetched analogies abound: abortion is like the Holocaust, or slavery; denial of abortion is like forcing a person to spend nine months intravenously hooked up to a medically endangered stranger who happens to be a famous violinist. It sometimes seems that the further abortion is removed from the actual lives and circumstances of real girls and women, the more interesting it becomes to talk about. Opponents often argue as if the widespread use of abortion were a modern innovation, the consequence of some aspect of contemporary life of which they disapprove (feminism, promiscuity, consumerism, Godlessness, permissiveness, individualism), and as if making it illegal would make it go away. What if none of this is true? Historical advertisements: The Granger Collection, New York. When Abortion Was a Crime, Leslie J.

Reagan demonstrates that abortion has been a common procedure — part of life — in America since the eighteenth century, both during the slightly more than half of our history as a nation when it has been legal and during the slightly less than half when it was not. The first statutes regulating abortion, passed in the 1820s and 1830s, were actually poison-control laws: the sale of commercial abortifacients was banned, but abortion per se was not. The laws made little difference. By the 1840s the abortion business — including the sale of illegal drugs, which were widely advertised in the popular press — was booming. In one of the many curious twists that mark the history of abortion, the campaign to criminalize it was waged by the same professional group that, a century later, would play an important role in legalization: physicians. The American Medical Association’s crusade against abortion was partly a professional move, to establish the supremacy of regular physicians over midwives and homeopaths. The physician and anti-abortion leader Horatio R. Storer asked in 1868.

This is a question our women must answer; upon their loins depends the future destiny of the nation. (It should be mentioned that the nineteenth-century women’s movement also opposed abortion, having pinned its hopes on voluntary motherhood — the right of wives to control the frequency and timing of sex with their husbands.) Nonetheless, having achieved their legal goal, many doctors — including prominent members of the AMA — went right on providing abortions. women were often able to make doctors listen to their needs and even lower their fees. And because, in the era before the widespread use of hospitals, women chose the doctors who would attend their whole families through many lucrative illnesses, medical men had self-interest as well as compassion for a motive. Thus in an 1888 expos undercover reporters for the Chicago Times obtained an abortion referral from no less a personage than the head of the Chicago Medical Society. Unless a woman died, doctors were rarely arrested and even more rarely convicted.

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Even midwives — whom doctors continued to try to drive out of business by portraying them, unfairly, as dangerous abortion quacks — practiced largely unmolested. What was the point, then, of making abortion a crime? Reagan argues that its main effect was to expose and humiliate women caught in raids on abortion clinics or brought to the hospital with abortion complications, and thereby send a message to all women about the possible consequences of flouting official gender norms. Publicity — the forced disclosure of sexual secrets before the authorities — was itself the punishment. Reagan’s discussion of dying declarations makes particularly chilling reading: because the words of the dying are legally admissible in court, women on their deathbeds were informed by police or doctors of their imminent demise and harassed until they admitted to their abortions and named the people connected with them — including, if the woman was unwed, the man responsible for the pregnancy Unsurprisingly, the Depression, during which women stood to lose their jobs if they married or had a child, saw a big surge in the abortion rate. Well-connected white women with private health insurance were sometimes able to obtain therapeutic abortions, a never-defined category that remained legal throughout the epoch of illegal abortion. Even for the privileged, though, access to safe abortion narrowed throughout the fifties, as doctors, fearful of being prosecuted in a repressive political climate for interpreting therapeutic abortion too broadly, set up hospital committees to rule on abortion requests.

Some committees were more compassionate than others. Moderate reforms had already been tried: twelve states permitted abortion in instances of rape, incest, danger to physical or mental health, or fetal defect, but since most women, as always, sought abortions for economic, social, or personal reasons, illegal abortion continued to thrive Legalizing abortion was a public-health triumph that for pregnant women ranked with the advent of antisepsis and antibiotics. Anti-abortion zealots have committed arson, assault, and murder in their campaign against abortion clinics. Similarly, the general lack of enthusiasm for prosecuting those who perform abortions and the almost total failure to prosecute and jail women for having them suggest that whatever Americans may consider abortion to be, it isn’t baby killing, a crime our courts have always punished quite severely. it seems absurd to suggest that the overburdened mothers, desperate young girls, and precariously employed working women who populate these pages risked public humiliation, injury, and death for mere convenience, much less out of secular humanism or a Lockean notion of property rights in their bodies.

It’s even more preposterous — not to mention insulting — to see them as standing in relation to their fetuses as a slaveowner to a slave or a Nazi to a Jew. Reagan suggests that the abortion debate is really an ideological struggle over the position of women. How much right should they have to consult their own needs, interests, and well-being with respect to childbearing or anything else? Arguments Abortion as philosophical puzzle and moral conundrum is all very well, but what about abortion as a real-life social practice? Since the abortion debate is, theoretically at least, aimed at shaping social policy, isn’t it important to look at abortion empirically and historically? Historical advertisements: The Granger Collection, New York. Copyright 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights reserved. The Atlantic Monthly; May 1997; Abortion in American History; Volume 279, No. 5; pages 111-115. http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/97may/abortion.h tm May 11th, 2000 A fetus is not a person and not the subject of an indictment for manslaughter, Boston’s Superior Court Judge James P.

McGuire told the jury. I will continue to do abortions. They are a woman’s right, he said after his conviction, Women since they’ve been on this earth have been making that choice, whether they want to carry that baby or not…The only humane thing we can do is make sure that when they make that choice they have the opportunity to make it under t …


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