Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Philosophy - Abortion Rectitude Essays - Fertility, Abortion Debate

Philosophy - Abortion Rectitude There comes a time in the lives of most women when an ovum, fertilized with sperm, will implant itself into her uterine wall. This is nature's first step in its attempt to continue the human race. Currently, when this implantation occurs, the impregnated woman has the right to allow the embryo to nourish itself into existence or to eliminate all chances of that embryo attaining life through abortion. Every species of plant and animal on earth reproduce in one way or another. How could something as ancient and fundamental as reproduction turn into one of the most hotly contested moral debates in history? The question can only be answered if we first examine the intellectual psyche of the human animal. Since we are currently the most intelligent beings on earth, we use our critical thinking capabilities to selectively choose what should be morally acceptable and what should be deemed unacceptable. To the best of our knowledge, we as humans are the only species in existence that wrestle with moral dilemmas. Absolute morality that will be agreed upon by the majority of a society is extremely difficult to determine since each individual has the ability to decide for themselves what is morally acceptable. It is because of this decision that our American culture intensely debates issues of morality such as abortion. The debate over abortion pits the rights to life of an unborn fetus against the rights of rational women who want to control what happens to their own body. Does the termination of a pregnancy deprive a human of their right to life? Should our government be allowed the power to regulate what a woman can and cannot do with her own body? These are two of the questions which will be deliberated over throughout the course of this paper. In his article "Abortion and Infanticide", Michael Tooley tackles two important questions about abortion. The first is "what properties must someone have in order to be considered a person, i.e., to have a serious right to life?" Tooley answers that anything which completely lacks consciousness, like ordinary machines, cannot have rights. If a being does not desire something such as consciousness, it is impossible to deprive that being of his right to it. In other words, Tooley argues that since a fetus does not show outward desires to have life, it is morally permissible to abort that fetus. There are three exceptions to this rule that need to be clarified. First, if the being is in a temporary emotionally unbalanced state, such as a deep depression, he should still be allowed rights to life. Secondly, if the being is unconscious due to sleep or some sort of trauma, he should not be deprived of his rights to life. Finally, if the person has been brainwashed by a religious cult or any similar institution into wanting death, he should still be given a right to life. The second question addressed by Tooley is "at what point in the development of a member of the species Homo Sapiens does the organism possess the properties that make it a person?" The law in America currently implies that the fetus possesses the properties that make it a person when it reaches the third trimester or the sixth month of its germination inside the uterus. Is this a reasonable assessment of when a fetus has a right to life? Tooley says "No". An organism does not have a right to life unless it possesses the concept of a self as a continuous being of mental states. This definition of possessing a right to life can be applied to newborn babies that do not yet have a concept of a self as a continuous being. Therefore, it is morally acceptable to deprive them of their right to life, for they don't show desire for life. According to Tooley, the fetus does not have a right to life at any time therefore, the mother of that fetus should have the right to terminate her pregnancy as she so chooses. Tooley implies that until the fetus reaches the age of about three weeks outside the uterus, it does not show signs of wanting life. Only when the child shows signs of desiring life should the child be given a right to life. These arguments are controversial to say the least. However, they contain a rational opinion of when an organism should be given a right to life. Mary Anne Warren also examines the morality of abortion in her article titled "On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion". She attempts to address the question

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