An Argument Against Abortion Essay -- The Right to …
I would think that the greater the (perceived) quality of life in asociety, the fewer abortions there would be, for two reasons: (1) rearingaccidentally conceived children would not be such a difficult (and sometimesalmost impossible) burden because there would be help available, for example,even just day-care facilities at work or school; and (2) one would notbe so likely to feel one is doing the child a favor by not "forcing itto be born" into conditions that no one should have to endure -- conditionsthat might even make the person himself wish he had never been born. RememberI am not necessarily just talking about trying to provide a life with theminimal "basic" necessities of food, shelter, clothing, and medicine, butalso trying to provide all the kinds of things that make human life moreworth living -- love, compassion, understanding, opportunities for mentalor intellectual development, being treated fairly, etc. -- the kinds ofemotional, psychological, "spiritual" necessities of the soul that can evensometimes,though not as a rule, transcend inescapable poor health and/or poverty.
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First, abortion is always a bad thing because it does end a unique,particular life or a very near, potential life; yet it may not be the wrongthing, since it may be the best alternative of a bunch of bad alternatives,or it may be the result of a right that overrides a greater good. Someright actions in life are those which involve bad things, for example whensomeone has to have their leg amputated in order to save their life, orwhen someone has to have prolonged and painful treatment to prevent rabieswhen the dog who bit them cannot be found. A bad option can be the rightoption to choose in making a decision if it (1) is based on a right thatoverrides other actions or if it (2) is the best option open to the agentwho will perform the action and is an option that does not violate someoverriding right. An example concerning such an overriding right, usuallygiven in ethics classes, is the right of an innocent person not to be punishedfor a crime authorities know he did not commit but could frame him forto the public, just in order to deter future potential criminals, evenif that were to save countless future victims. Innocent people have a rightnot to be punished just to serve as an example of what would happen toa person guilty of a particular kind of crime, regardless of how much betterconditions would be if some innocent person was occasionally punished,or even executed, that way. Hence, with regard to abortion, abortion ofa fetus (which leads to its death) may be right if it is the best of abunch of bad alternatives available, or if there is some overriding reasonor some other right which overrides the fetal right to life, as in thecase where the mother's life is in jeopardy if she carries the child longenough for it to be viable (i.e., the mother's right of self-defense).Likewise abortion would be wrong if it is not the best alternative and/orif the fetus has a right to life overriding alternatives even though thosealternatives may make others better off in the long run. So the questioncomes to whether there are better alternatives than termination of thefetus or not, and whether in different cases there are rights which overridethe best alternatives -- either on behalf of the fetus when terminationgives the better situation for others, or on behalf of others when non-terminationgives the better situation for the fetus and/or those other than the geneticparent(s).
Take the case of brutal rape-induced pregnancy, for example. Surelyno one would want their child to be raised by a person with a brutal rapistmentality, taught in school by someone with such a mentality, to be friendswith such a person, nor to be married to such a person. We would do everythingwe could to prevent such exposures to our children. But if genetic make-uphas much to do with such a mentality, if we allow our child to be born,we are quite possibly dooming someone who is in part like us to be always influenced by someone who has the very kind of character we would neverwant our child exposed to, because it would be a permanent, inherent partof them. Even if a sensitive woman would not have to rear, or even gestate,such a child, does she not have some very strong right to want to terminatethe fetal life at a very early stage in order to prevent the kind of qualityof life she envisions for a child that is genetically (and in certain ways,emotionally) half hers? I do not know. I am not certain enough is knownabout how we develop into the kinds of human beings we become, and/or howwe develop our views on the value of the quality of our own life to knowhow reasonable such an argument might be. Again, however, the argumentof the friend of mine -- that the (prospective) baby is innocent, and shouldnot be terminated because of his father's crime -- is irrelevant, becausethe pregnant woman who would give the above kind of argument also seesthe child as innocent and therefore undeserving of being made to live akind of life that would be horrible. I doubt any rape-induced woman evenentertains the idea of aborting the child in order to punish the rapistfor his crime. Tay-Sachs disease or Downs syndrome is perhaps a more obviousor more arguable kind of case. The compassionate prospective parent isnot arguing that the baby should be aborted because it is somehow guiltyof something, or would be hard to rear, but because the child is innocentand does not deserve to be made to live the kind of life and die the kindof early death that such defects cause. Compassion and appreciation ofthe baby's innocence can be on both sides of the argument. They, by themselves,do not determine what is right to do.
Ethics of Abortion Essay - Paper Topics
[Let me point out that abortion on grounds of self-defense canonly refer to self-defense against loss of life or severe damage to health,not something like loss of a little happiness or a slightly longer recoveryperiod. You may justifiably kill someone you reasonably believe would otherwisekill you or badly hurt you, but you cannot justifiably kill someone whoyou know would otherwise only lower your standard of living a bit. Thisis not to say there may be no other grounds for abortion.]
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To take another kind of similar case: suppose that it turns out we arenever able, from a practical standpoint, to viably thaw out people whoare cryogenically frozen in the hope that whatever disease they had beforefreezing can someday be cured. We, of course, might say that such peopleare "frozen alive", but are they really still alive? There is no telling,not because we don't know anything about them, but because the conceptof "alive" never was clearly enough defined or used before to let us discoverwhether it applies in such a case or not. There would be nothing to discover,just a stipulation or decision to be made, an arbitrary stipulation ordecision. Whether embryos or fetuses should be called alive or human ornot is not really important; what is important is that normal fetuses,without abortions being performed, generally become human beings -- thisis the most salient fact. Whether they should be called human or alive,or things that can be murdered, at a stage earlier than they were beforeis an arbitrary matter to be pronounced rather than discovered. But themost salient point about fetuses is that in a fairly short time -- at birth-- they will be alive and human. If we stipulated that a four day old fetuswas not yet alive or human, and that a five day old fetus was, it seemsto me that the fact killing it on the fifth day would be called murderand killing it on the fourth day would not be called murder makes virtuallyno difference in the morality of the situation. I doubt it would make anydifference to the fetus. Consciousness or self-consciousness would be insignificanton the fifth day and nothing else of any moral relevance would be significantlydifferent either. I am not saying that when some people die makesno difference; I am only saying that I think when a fetus dies makes nodifference, no significant moral difference. I think that may also be trueof a newborn baby; that a newborn baby dies is significant, but whetherit dies on its second day after birth or its third day seems to be of littleconsequence relative to continuing to live. Whether a fetus is killed ornot is morally significant, not when. At the other end of the spectrumthere is a joke on an old Jewish toast that one should live "to be 120years old". One fellow toasts to his friend that he should live to be "120and three days." The friend asks why the extra three days, and the onegiving the toast says "because I don't want you should drop dead all ofa sudden." The point of the humor is that it is hard to imagine that formost people it would matter much at all whether they live to be 120 or120 and three days. Three days at the beginning of a short life or at theend of a long life, it seems to me, are of very little consequence, absentsomething very special that could only happen in those three days time.