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Intro to Ethics

Satisfactory Essays
An area of contention within the field of applied ethics are those for and against the moral permissibility of abortion, where people are able to debate the humanity of the fetus, and whether it's life is one worth saving. Two arguments for and against the permissibility of the use of abortions come from the arguments posed by both Judith J. Thomson and Donald Marquis. In Thomson's argument she exposes how one might find it permissible to end the life of the fetus based upon the fact that it doesn't have all the rights to life that a fully-grown human might and that the mothers right to her body outweighs the fetus’s right to life. Using various analogies she shows that to call a human fetus a human isn't as intuitive as one might think. These two arguments for and against the single action of abortion outline the diverse ethical interpretations of a single action. In Thomson’s paper that argues the permissibility of abortion, she looks to undermine the argument that aborting a fetus is wrong, even in cases of danger to the mother of the fetus and in cases of rape. She also grants the contentious argument that the fetus is a person from conception, so she can argue her point. Though Thomson has some reservations that much like a person wouldn't call an acorn an oak tree, the distinction should be made that a fetus differs entirely from a fully developed human being, in a biological context, she allows for the moral context to apply. The moral context being defined as an individual who belongs to the moral community (a being with the inherent right to life). Opposition to this view comes from those who argue that the way the relationship between the acorn and the oak tree should be evaluated is in the makeup of their genetic stru... ... middle of paper ... ... that is known to be in development and limits the arguments of contraception. The gist of both arguments coming from Thomson and Marquis’s essays is in the boundary cases there are certain situations which would permit an abortion, not to say that all abortions are permissible, but rather cases where the mothers life is at risk, and situations where the life in store for the fetus seems bleak. Therefore it seems as though Marquis and Thomson achieved the same thing, finding a middle ground where pro-life and pro-choice supporters could see the situations, which would permit the killing of a human being. As in many of the moral principles proposed in the classes discussions of normative ethics, the measurement of rightness over wrongness seems to be a key, where nothing can be impermissible because there may be a situation in which it becomes the only right option.