• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The ethics of abortion.

Extracts from this document...


Helen Evans The ethics of abortion Before discussing the issue of abortion, a definition of what is actually meant by the term 'abortion' must first be decided upon. For the purpose of this essay, Mary Anne Warren's definition will be referred to. She describes abortion as 'the act a woman performs in deliberately terminating her pregnancy before it comes to term, or in allowing another person to terminate it' (Warren, M A, 1997, p.72). The ethical issues surrounded by the issue of abortion have been debated for many years, with society seemingly split into those who advocate pro life, those who advocate pro choice and those who are undecided. Pro-life campaigners claim that abortion is immoral, except in a few cases, as they believe the fetus is a human being from conception. On the other hand, pro choice campaigners claim that women must have the right to choose what happens to their body, and can choose to have an abortion if they decide that it is the best option for them. Those people who believe abortion is morally acceptable usually base their argument around the fact that a woman should be free to choose what happens to her own body. Freedom of choice is considered by many people as a basic human right and nobody should have this right denied. One philosopher who believes that abortion is morally permissible is Mary Anne Warren. She argues that prohibiting abortion can lead to tragic consequences itself, with hundreds of thousands of women, worldwide, dying from illegal abortions or suffering complications which may lead to infertility. ...read more.


Thomson's and warren's argument that a woman has the right to choose is therefore, not entirely faultless. Warren explains that in cases where a woman could have taken responsibility to avoid becoming pregnant, by taking the contraceptive pill for example, an abortion may not be morally permissible. Pro-life campaigners have argued for many years that abortion is wrong because the killing of another human being is wrong. However, before considering this argument, it would be beneficial to examine what it is that makes killing us wrong. Don Marquis puts forward the 'future like ours' argument, which states that killing someone is wrong because it deprives that person of their future and the life they would have lived if they had lived their natural life span. Marquis explains more specifically that it is the loss of a future conscious life which makes killing a person wrong, as opposed to the loss of a future biological life. Marquis also states that 'the misfortune of premature death consists of the loss to us of the future goods of consciousness' (Marquis, 1997, p.87). He describes the goods of life as the things the make life worth living and the things we have done that we are proud of. Marquis argument is that abortion is wrong because it results in premature death, which he considers morally wrong. Helen Evans There are at least four arguments, according to Marquis, which support the FLO account of the wrongness of killing. These arguments are the considered judgement argument, the worst of crimes argument, the appeal to cases argument and the analogy with animals argument. ...read more.


However, following the virtue theory may not make it any clearer as to whether abortion is morally right or not, but instead makes the claim that in some circumstances it may be. Another problem is what is actually mean by a 'virtuous act'. People may disagree about what a virtuous act is, and when one person decides it is virtuous to have an abortion, another may consider it non-virtuous in the same situation. Helen Evans Abortion is a topic that will be argued within society for many years to come. Different religions, philosophical views and moral standings will all affect a person's view on the topic. In my own opinion, it is morally acceptable for a woman to have an abortion in certain circumstances, as many people argue. In cases such as r**e, I believe that it is totally unjust not to give a woman the choice to terminate a pregnancy she had forced on her. I also agree with Warren that women have a right to choose what happens to their body, and abortion is part of that choice. To deny a person the right of freedom of choice is in itself morally unacceptable, although in certain situations it can be morally unacceptable for a woman to have an abortion. Therefore, abortion is morally acceptable if the reason behind having one is a worthy enough reason to justify the abortion. There can be no definite yes or no answer as to whether it is morally acceptable to have an abortion or not. Instead, it would appear to be based on the circumstances and the situation the woman is in, and each case of abortion should be looked at individually. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Miscellaneous essays

  1. Describe several heuristics that you might use when deciding whether you should a) Study ...

    This is otherwise known as misconception of sample size. With smaller sample sizes there is more likely to be a large deviation from 50%. This could however work to his advantage. The sample size in general would contain every female in the world, so the average would theoretically be 50% chance of success.

  2. Source and Form Criticism of the Bible. Both types of criticisms are helpful ...

    Through the location and development of the Pentateuch, source criticism manifests why the sources were placed in that order and what would happen if they were changed around? Hence if Genesis was written after Deuteronomy, it was placed in that order for a reason.

  1. Exegesis on Job 42:1-17 In the passage of Job 42:1-6 there appears to ...

    Job's prayer for them brings forgiveness from God (:9). This is a complete reversal of our expectations for this story of suffering. In verse seven, God admits that Job was correct in accusations against the deity. The Lord tells Eliphaz that he and the other two friends have incurred God's anger and that they were wrong in what they said about God to Job.

  2. Describe the visit in the Quaker Meeting House and assess the relevance of visiting ...

    U.K Quakerism is more popular within the elderly section of our society, a question I asked at during my revisit, perhaps appealing with ones spiritual and mind development, arriving in ones latter years, but all of this adding to its mysticism.

  1. Jesus appointed only men to succeed him therefore women should be excluded from priesthood'.

    41In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.' Another important thing that has been noted about Jesus' attitude toward women is that he taught them both the meaning of the Scriptures and religious truths in general.

  2. Many have thought about the meaning of abortion. The argument is that every child ...

    The embryo is its own being that should have its own rights to protect it. A scientist that may have found the very cure to A.I.D.S. would be killed. There is a better way to solve our problems than by killing children.

  1. What conclusions does More want his 16th century readers to draw about the Christian ...

    It seems that More is certainly challenging European Christians' ability to go thorough all of the physical necessities of being Christian, but do not live as Christians should. By contrast, the Utopians lack the means and knowledge to perform the physical acts, but live as Christians should.

  2. Compare and contrast the human condition as it relates to Muslims and Christians. ...

    The word "tithe" means one tenth. In the new testament of the Bible, Jesus teaches us in Luke 6:38 "Give, it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work