Philosophy of Abortion

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Philosophy of Abortion With about 1.3 million aborted pregnancies annually, abortion has become one of the most highly debated issues in our country and tends to leave both pro-life and pro-choice advocates furious (Operation Rescue). Many circumstances involved with this issue can make choosing a side tough, including the conditions the fetus will live in after birth and the rape of a women. When debating, people often focus on the personhood of the fetus, the rights the fetus obtains, and the morality of abortion. There are three main views on abortion. The first is the conservative view; this view argues that a fetus holds personhood from the point of conception on making abortion a form of homicide. An objection to this view is that many people find it improbable that the zygote is a person. Most people do not have a problem admitting it is a human, but since a zygote possess no individuality, it can be hard to call the zygote a person (Gordon). Secondly, the liberal view claims that a baby becomes a person immediately after birth. One major objection to this view is that though the fetus is far more developed than the zygote from the conservative point of view, there is no clear moral difference between the baby five minutes before and after birth. To most, the death of the infant at either time would be just as tragic. Thirdly, the moderate view holds that there is a moral status difference between the fetus and the infant, and this determines the justifiability in terminating the pregnancy in the early months when the fetus does not look like a baby/human. This provides a clear middle ground between the conservative and liberal views. However, the line for which the moral status of the offspring changes is un... ... middle of paper ... ...the organism to be a citizen and have the ability to make contracts. English states that in order to be considered a person, an organism does not have to meet all five sections; however, the fetus does not obtain most of the feature from any of the sections (Gordon). Mary Anne Warren put another list of characteristics to qualify for personhood forth. She states that an organism is a person if they meet most of these qualifications: the ability to feel pain, reasoning skills, self-motivated activity, the ability to communicate, and self-awareness. Since the fetus does not meet most of these characteristics, it is justified to terminate a pregnancy. However, many see that this list and the one presented by English justify the killing of newborn infants since they also cannot meet the criteria for personhood, which morally most people believe is wrong (Hillar).
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