Hypothesis 1: Abortion is immoral
In “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion,” (1973), Mary Warren supports an extremely liberal interpretation of abortion, wherein the act of feticide is allowable at all stages of the pregnancy and under all instances. Herein, Warren places these initial claims; one, that murdering innocent humans is wrong and two, “fetuses” are considered as “innocent human beings.” Using logical deduction, Warren deduces that fetuses are “innocent human beings.” Warren places an emphasis on the term “human being” as a “full-fledged member of the moral community.” To Warren, the “moral community” is regarded as the “set of beings with full moral rights, and consists of all and only persons.” Persons, according to Warren, possesses several critical features: “consciousness,” “reasoning,” “self-motivated activity,” “the ability to communicate,” and the “ability of self-awareness.” In this light, Warren proffers that any person who does not have any of these features is not considered “human (California State University-Sacramento 1).
Traditionally, humans are regarded and comprehended as persons; however, there are persons that cannot be regarded as humans. Theorists engage the term “person” in a manner that is unique from “human being.” “Human being” is a term used in the field of biology; “person” is aligned more in the field of metaphysics that refers to an entity with certain features. Referring to the first argument, if elements of a certain species other than human were reasonable and moral, but not human beings, on a biological context, these can be regarded as persons. For example, “Neanderthal man” interred their deceased and used mechanism and utensils, but was not regarded as humans, even though these looked human like. To stretch the point under this principle, aliens, as in entities that live on another planet, who behave in a moral manner and act rationally can be considered as “persons” but not “human beings.”
“Human beings” are generally seen as “persons,” and in this light, there are “human persons.” Aside from possessing legal liberties and guarantees given by state authorities, these also have “human” or “moral rights.” For example, a “human person” is entitled with the right to “life and liberty” as long as this right does not infringe on the rights of others. This liberty is also inclusive of the right not to be killed. Nonetheless, the right to kill is obviated when done in the act of defending oneself; one is free from criminal liability if a hostile attacker is killed if this is the last resort in preserving one’s life. However, proffering that one’s right is just if it does not infringe on the right of others, then the question is who is liable for the attacker’s death in these types of cases? It can be argued that the right to life of the offender was outweighed by the need of the supposed victim to protect his/her life.
In the abortion issue, the crux of the matter hinges to a degree on the treatment accorded to the fetus or the embryo: the choices here are whether the unborn is endowed with “human” or moral guarantees, not be killed and the right to “pursue a life.” Terrestrial on human elements and persons are treated differently as these have distinct metaphysical and physical elements. By this, the entity is established as possessing a soul and a reasonable mind to be regarded as a person. On a moral standpoint, moral issues and concerns are outweighed by other considerations on the moral definition of a fetus as a person (University of Missouri Medical School 1).
The question here is whether the fetus has the right to life at all stages of the pregnancy. People, grown individuals, are naturally presumed to have a “right to life;” fetuses are not considered as rational beings and it is debatable whether, in this premise, these have an inalienable right to pursue life. Arguments that are fueled in this instance are derived from the principle of “moral personhood.” The rights as a human being are traditionally drawn on the concept that the being is a “morally critical person.” The person has something to contribute to society, thus is defined as “human being” entitled to specific rights that others must acknowledge.
These elements are the “members of a moral community,” having duties as well as rights and those others in that community must recognize as such. Rocks and other non-human beings are not considered human persons; however, “higher animals” such as chimpanzees, dogs and cats are considered to have moral personhood. For example, followers of the Jain cult in India believe that every living thing can be considered as persons and have a guarantee to life. However, the exact factor at arriving at an acceptable definition is a persisting argument whether it is one, a combination of, or all of these concepts that must be present to be considered as a “moral person” and thus qualify to be entitled to rights and more particularly, the guarantee to life.
Marquis (1989), in Why Abortion is Immoral, frames the debate in the manner of the understanding of those that advocate for feticide. Marquis argues that the abortion supporters desperately seek to find a moral foundation that is so circumscribed that fetuses will fall through the definition of “person” or “human.” The overriding objective here is to develop a concept that infants, juveniles, the unconscious, and the extremely retarded will be lumped together in the same category of fetuses. For example, it will be always prima facie flawed to murder reasonably thinking elements. For the abortion opponents, the objective is to discover or develop a concept that fetuses will be embraced within it (California State 1).
Hypothesis 2: The right of the fetus must be balanced with that of the mother
The question posed here is whether the right of the mother to “do with her own body as she fits” actually abrogates the right of the fetus to be born. In this argument, it is ultimately the body of the mother, and her life that will be impacted by the birth of the baby. The most common issues here are the factors if the mother was a victim of sexual violence, and the continuance of the pregnancy places the health of the mother at grave risk. There are militant supporters against abortion that no overriding instance will necessitate the termination of the life of the fetus; in this light, it will be argued that any abortion is morally wrong. In her work A Defense of Abortion (1971), American theorist Judith Thomson argues that even though fetuses have a basic right to life, the mother’s rights will need to override the rights of the fetuses based on the arguments put forth earlier (Fieser 1).
The right to life is being convoluted into norms that fit the agendas of various groups. However, the right to “pursue” the right to life has not changed. Fetuses are not “items” that can be traded or commoditized. The process that initiated their conception is one that will lead to the development of a human being, and the “person” that this being will grow into is the sole prerogative of that being. Unless the reasons are that if the continued or stillborn development of the fetus will pose a grave health threat to the mother, the fetus has the right to be born, regardless of the political beliefs of the society.
California State University-Sacramento “The ethics of abortion” <http://www.csus.edu/indiv/g/gaskilld/ethics/Abortion.htm
Fieser, James “Abortion” <https://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class/160/5-abortion.htm