On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion

1423 Words6 Pages
Edwin Carter Jr.
Session Paper Draft
Applied Ethics
October 15, 2010

“On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion”, an essay written by Mary Anne Warren, defend abortion in any stage of a woman’s pregnancy (pg 468). Warren argues that the potential to become a human being is not the same as being human and deserving the same right to life (pg. 468-472). This essay asserts that in order to be human, one must possess five particular traits (pg. 470). These trait are consciousness, reasoning, self-motivated activity, the ability to communicate, and awareness of oneself (pg. 470). Warren claims that since a fetus has not yet acquired all of the traits, then that fetus is not human and therefore does not have the right to life (pg. 470).
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Thomson continues to dissect her scenarios that promote her support of abortion. She ends this essay after explaining that although she supports abortion rights, she does not think that all cases are suitable for abortion. Don Marquis’ essay, “Why Abortion is Immoral” is very different, yet similar to Thomson’s “A Defense of Abortion”. Although Marquis is opposed to the thought of abortion, he explains that it is acceptable in some cases. It is written, “It is in the same moral category as killing an innocent adult human being”. The reasons given for abortion to be acceptable are that the pregnancy or childbirth is life threatening to the mother, abortion before implantation, or abortion after a rape (pg 475). Thomson also views rape and the illness or death as a result of pregnancy or birth as acceptable reasons for a woman to have an abortion. It is obvious that if a woman did not consent to become pregnant and it was out of her control, she should be able to make the decision as to what to do with her body. In the case of the pregnancy causing harm to the mother is also reasonable because if the mother was to die during birth, could the child be promised a life equal to that of what they would have had with their mother? Marquis talks about how the death of any human being is the “greatest loss” because that person loses their whole future (pg 476). They do not receive the same chance at life as a person who
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