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The Morality Of Abortion

Good Essays
Abortion

Abortion is an ongoing controversy that affects millions of Americans every year.

Abortion is the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a

pregnancy(Dicitonary.com). The law provides and protects the mother 's decision

and consent for medical professionals to perform these procedures. There are several

factors that are considered in debating if abortion is morally permissible or wrong. One

factor is understanding the meaning of sentience in order to consider if abortion is moral

or immoral. Sentience is using the concept to distinguish the ability to think and reason

from the ability to feel (sentience) (Dictionary.com).
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In the book, Disputed Moral Issues, by

Mark Timmons, Chapter 10 discusses Abortion. A reprint from the Journal of Philosophy,

“Why Abortion Is Immoral,” by Don Marquis is in the text. Don Marquis is straight-forward

and to the point. Marquis’ argument states that abortion is seriously and morally wrong.

He exclaims that abortion involves killing but excludes cases in which the woman has been

raped and ends her pregnancy within 14 days or ends her pregnancy due to her life being

threatened because of pregnancy complications. The purpose of this essay is to explain

the premise, inference, and conclusion of Marquis’ argument and an argument of rejection

providing premise, inference and conclusion.

Don Marquis’s approach to the morality of abortion is setting out an argument to prove

that abortion is seriously wrong. His thesis is “Abortion except perhaps in rare instances,

is seriously wrong”(Timmons, 468). Marquis mentions the exceptions and rare instances

that must be addressed in order to eliminate ethically controversial situations. In cases

involving heinous rape, situations that could endanger a woman’s life, and revelations
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Marquis conceives that killing human beings such as ourselves is wrong. He further

contends that if it is wrong to kill us then, abortion is immoral and not permissible.

Marquis argues that a fetus is equal to an adult human being. His primary argument

presents the fact that “a fetus possesses a property, the possession of which is an adult

human being is sufficient to make killing an adult human being wrong, makes abortion

wrong”(Gedge &Waluchow, 224). He places abortion in the same category as the killing

of an adult human being. Marquis is against pro-choice arguments and defends his

position that abortion is morally wrong. Therefore, if you kill a fetus, then (prima facie)

you act wrongly unless in rare cases you are avoiding an equal or worse act. The

pro-choice supporters “argue of it being prima facie to kill rational agents, therefore

abortions are permissible because fetuses are not rational agents, is refuted by Marquis,

as he questions why it is then morally wrong to kill young children, the severely retarded

or the mental ill”(Gedge & Waluchow, 214). Marquis holds a conservative view on
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