The Ethics Of The Abortion Essay

The Ethics Of The Abortion Essay

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As the debate over the Planned Parenthood video scandals rage on in the media and the government, the question over the ethics of the abortion practice continues to divide the country. Both sides of the debate present two extremes: that it is a woman’s right to have an abortion anytime she so chooses or that abortion is murder and therefore always wrong. The film The Cider House Rules challenges the universality of the latter’s claim through a complex, ethical dilemma that personifies the abortion issue. The texts “Abortion in American History” and “The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion” explore the different aspects of the issue from both the historic prevalence of abortion in American life and the fluidity of the Catholic/Christian stance on abortion and contraception.
Before further discussion occurs we must first establish what the ethical question is over abortion and why both sides, Pro-Life and Pro-Choice, disagree so vehemently with each other. Abortion, or induced abortion as we shall use for the purposes of this paper, itself is defined as the intentional removing of a fetus or embryo from the womb before it has fully developed, therefore dying as a result. From this, the more essential questions that arise over the validity of abortion are as follows: does a woman have an absolute right to her body that she can terminate a pregnancy, is a fetus a person, and if so, should it be given precedent over the life/desires of the mother? Pro-Choice advocates will argue that no one has the right to dictate, or for that matter legislate, what a woman can or cannot do with her own body, including the right to terminate a pregnancy. According to the United States Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade (1973) ...


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... sapiens species, at least some of them could resemble our children, who we define as being persons. Apes show reasoning and planning in their use of tools and self-awareness in their social activities. Moral agency comes from acts of altruism that seem innate. Likewise, dolphins show rationality when hunting in groups, e tools when searching the bottom of the sea, and show intelligence when in captivity. Claims that moral tradition in the West has maintained that: 1) persons have exclusive or at least radically superior moral status, 2) nonpersons have radically inferior moral status, 3) there are no beings in between these two categories, and 4) no nonhuman animals are persons DeGrazia says all points are weakened by his argument, 3 being undermined by the large class of borderline persons and 4 being refuted by the more linguistically competent nonhuman animals.

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