I am writing this essay on a Saturday evening, not with any real contemplation, or even planning. I am writing this because I was just minutes ago watching the movie Cider House Rules. I won't go into the plot of the movie, but, to explain my motivation for writing this, I will simply describe one portion of the movie.
The scene at issue in my mind right now is one where a fourteen-year-old girl comes to the orphanage which is the setting for part of the movie. This girl came to the orphanage because it was known in the region as a place that performed abortions. She had had a crude abortion performed in such a way that she had been severely injured (her uterus was punctured by a crochet hook, and, not being a sterile instrument, this caused an infection of the uterine lining, eventually killing her). The resident doctor is disgusted by this, and uses the girl's injury as an example explaining why he performs abortions. The doctor's argument is fairly simple. If the girl had come to him, rather than the ignorant abortionist she chose, she would likely have survived. In addition, he claims that potential parents have a right to choose to be parents or to not be parents. The doctor, a seeming proponent of utilitarianism, says that this demonstrates a duty to perform abortions.
The young man to which the doctor is speaking, Homer, has been in essence an apprentice under the doctor, but has refused to perform abortions. His reasoning is this: those individuals seeking an abortion should have been responsible enough to have not conceived an unwanted child. Their lack of sexual responsibility should not be an excuse to take human life.
Homer, while not legally a doctor (having...
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...e that die do so in the commission of a wrongful act, and because of this are to be blamed for their own demise. Perhaps this sounds cold and uncaring to you. My intent is not to make some kind of case for the despising of young pregnant women who seek abortions. I feel a real sense a pity for them, but I cannot circumvent what I believe to be a solid refutation of one of the major arguments for abortion legalization.
This essay, remember is not meant to be a complete argument against abortion, but rather attempts only to address the argument used in Cider House Rules. There are many other areas of discussion which can have a great effect on the ethics of abortion. The point at which a fetus becomes a person with rights is one such area. The question of whether or not a mother is obligated to carry to term a child who is in fact a full-fledged human is another.
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