Essay about Response to Don Marquis' "Why Abortion Is Immoral"

1902 Words Apr 6th, 2013 8 Pages
Don Marquis' "Why Abortion is Immoral"

In his essay "Why Abortion is Immoral," Don Marquis argues against the morality of abortion on the premise that the value of a fetus' future is so great that it is immoral to take that potential future away from it. Essentially, he contends, abortion is tantamount to murder: killing an individual is prima facie wrong because the loss of the goods of one's future is the worst loss a human can suffer. He calls this potential future a "future-like-ours," which is the basis for his contentions. In the next few pages I will delineate the general progression of his argument, and later, will evaluate the plausibility of said argument. Though Marquis makes both logical and compelling claims, there are
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He might argue that though the child will suffer, he still has a potential future in which he formulate goals, and have experiences and projects. However, we must note that during his argument, Marquis says "If the patient's future is intolerable...we want our account to allow killing the patient" and that "it is the value of the patient's future which is doing the work in rendering the morality of killing the patient intelligible" (561). Obviously, a quandary arises. Does the fetus in our example have a future that is less valuable than that of a normal one? Can we justify aborting this fetus, because although he will be rational and most likely capable of having experiences, the scope of his suffering will be exceedingly great? Are we in any sort of position to prescribe the value of someone else's future without knowing exactly how it will play out? So while it is plausible that Marquis would still argue from an anti-abortionist stance due to its potential future, this decision will very probably not sit well with the parents who have to watch their child suffer throughout his shortened life. This is one ambiguity that exists in Marquis' argument that has no easy answer, and is worth noting. We must recognize that cannot say with such conviction that we know what a future-like-ours entails. It seems presumptuous to assert that a future-like-ours is always a positive thing; how can we account for the fetus in the previous example, or

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