Nietzsche's Perspective on Abortion after Rape

Nietzsche's Perspective on Abortion after Rape

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Nietzsche's Perspective on Abortion after Rape

“The will to power.” A strong statement made by the philosopher, Nietzsche. He explains this statement in his work, “Thus Spake Zarathustra.” It can be found in multiple sections explaining different topics. When Nietzsche uses the phrase, “the will to power,” he means the ability to extend oneself to the furthest of capabilities. He believes that humans have the ability to always do their best, and try their hardest to improve themselves. In this work, he says that humans must overcome themselves and move towards that which is hardest. Giving up is not an option for him, unless in giving up you are pushing yourself to be greater.
Abortion due to rape cases is the most controversial reason for an abortion. For the most part, when you ask someone if they think abortions are moral, they will say yes or no. If they say no, half the time they say with the exception of rape cases. With this paper being about the morality of abortion due to rape cases, the “will to power” idea fits. It can be used to explain either side. Nietzsche explained the idea to mean working to be the best you can. Having an abortion can be looked at as using your will to power because having it done will make you to be a better person. However, it can also be used to back up someone choosing not to have an abortion in saying that by having the baby you are forcing yourself to do the harder thing, therefore helping yourself to grow. I think that even Nietzsche would have a hard time arguing the validity of both of those arguments.

Pregnancy can be a way of extending yourself. Extending yourself means growing to be the best you can. Pushing yourself to do better is what Nietzsche feels every person should do. This is “the will to power.” A person should always strive to do the best they can, whether it is to make themselves feel better or in competition with someone else. In having a baby and going through pregnancy, a woman is pushing herself to do what she feels is necessary to become a better person.

Extending yourself involves facing difficulties. Facing difficulties in life helps you to grow. Part of what Nietzsche is saying in “the will to power” is that you have to conquer the hardest obstacle to make yourself better.

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An example would be a child learning to ride a bicycle. The hardest part is overcoming the fear of falling off. This is a big fear to conquer for children, but, knowing that the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is worth it pushes them to keep going. For women who face the choice of abortion, the choice to have the baby may be the harder one. A woman may feel that more work is involved in having the child than in giving it up right away. It might make a woman feel better knowing that she gave that “child” a chance to live life. In a twisted sense, the pregnancy can also be looked at as a form of punishment for the woman. In many rape cases, the woman feels she is to blame for “letting” it happen, which of course is never the reason. Still, because the woman feels she is to blame, going through the pregnancy is her way of teaching herself not to let it happen again. In both cases the women feel that in going through with the pregnancy they are bettering themselves. They would be using their “will to power.”

Pregnancy can be a difficult thing to go through with. While some women look at it as an amazing experience, others look at it as facing a difficulty. In the case of pregnancy due to rape cases, a woman is more likely to take the second view. The pregnancy, although she decided to go through with it to better herself, and possibly the life of the child in her, is a challenge because it was unexpected. It is hard to adapt your life to a new situation, and pregnancy involves changing almost your entire lifestyle. It affects everything from your clothing to your eating habits to working. These changes can be expensive and not welcomed. However, if the woman can go through with the pregnancy and face all the difficulties, she has bettered herself by choosing and conquering the harder option. This leads to the next reasoning.

The common phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” seems to fit here, and helps explain why pregnancy can be a way of extending yourself. The phrase says that if you face something hard, and make it out alive, it has only made you stronger. Sometimes it might not seem that way right after you have gone through the difficulty, but later you realize that it did help you, whether it is in facing a fear or only proving that you really can’t do something. With the example from before of a child learning to ride the bike, facing the fear made him better. In choosing the harder option, he became greater. Even if in doing the harder thing you find that you really can’t do something then you are still bettering yourself in having tried. Nietzsche said to choose that which is harder, and knowing you can’t do something helps you to know your boundaries. Knowing your boundaries makes you a better person because you are not wasting time trying to do something you can’t do, which allows you to do something that will help you become a better person.
In extending yourself to be a better person, you have to face difficulties and challenges to better yourself. Facing and conquering challenges helps you to grow. Pregnancy is a challenge that can help a woman to grow. It helps her to cope with changes and makes her more capable of handling changes. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and if you can make it through giving birth, which is one of the most painful thing a woman can do, you make it through a lot, physically and mentally challenging. So, pregnancy can be a way of extending yourself.

In being raped, a person is taken advantage of without their consent. In many cases, this person is a woman, and in even more cases the woman is left pregnant with the choice of giving birth to the child or having an abortion. Just because you were wronged, however, does not mean you have the right to wrong the life of the unborn. As said, one is not raped by choice. No one walks down an alley at night saying, “O.K. I’m here, come and get me.” Some people may feel they did not take enough precautions to prevent being raped, but it is still not their fault. It is called rape because you are forcing someone to submit to sexual acts.

Rape is wrong because it is taking away someone else’s freedom of choice. It is taking away their “will to power.” In raping someone you are hurting them physically and mentally. Rape victims can be left feeling insecure and unsure of themselves for a while. In many stories you hear women say they felt worthless after it happens. These women do not feel able to push themselves to be any better, and this is hindering their “will to power.”

If a woman becomes pregnant due to a rape, she is faced with a difficult decision. Conception due to rape is still conception, though. Just because it happened unwillingly doesn’t change the fact that a new person has started to take form. Conception happens when a woman’s ovary is fertilized by a male’s sperm. This process doesn’t change just because it occurs as a result of rape rather than something planned.
It’s interesting that often in a wanted pregnancy, it is thought that a new person is formed at conception, but in an unwanted pregnancy, like in a rape or an “accident” case, when abortion is a considered option, it is looked at as a new tissue formation to make it seem less intense. I once read of a doctor saying that he told his patients to think of abortion as the removal of tissue, not a baby. This version of the truth is not an uncommon way of looking at abortion. It is a more comforting thought than thinking you are killing a new little person. However, medically speaking, the beginnings of a new person are formed at conception.
Abortion is removing the newly forming fetus from the woman’s body. This new fetus is a new little person beginning to take form. In having an abortion you are taking away that new child’s right to live. Some people argue that it is not a person yet, and that it does not have life, so they don’t believe they are taking away a life. However, it could be said that at conception, new tissues are formed and these new tissues grow to form a fetus. This fetus develops to form a new person, and this new child is given life as developing. In looking at it this way, having an abortion is taking away a new person’s life. Some people feel that a fetus is not a person, though, so it is alright to have an abortion, because it isn’t a person yet. No matter how you look at it though, in having an abortion, you are still eliminating the chance of giving a child their chance to live.

When people have an abortion they feel it is the best answer for them at the time. Many girls say they don’t feel ready to have a child. In a rape case, you can’t feel ready because it isn’t something you plan. However, two wrongs don’t make a right. You were wronged in being raped, but that doesn’t mean you should wrong the possible life of the product of that rape. In having an abortion, you are doing what you feel is best for yourself, and maybe for the possible life of a child, yet you are still doing something wrong. In taking away that child’s chance at life, you are doing something similar to what was done to you – taking freedom of choice away. In having an abortion you are making a choice for the possible child, just like the rapist made a choice for you. Two wrongs do not equal a right. By having the abortion, you are not proving a point to the rapist, you are only hindering the possible life of the child, and possibly yourself.

Just because you are wronged in being raped, does not mean you have the right to wrong the life of the unborn. One is not raped by choice, it is a wrong done to someone by a selfish person. However, even if it is due to rape, conception is still conception. An ovary is fertilized, leading to the formation of a fetus. This fetus develops into a new person. So, in having an abortion at the fetus stage you are taking away the chance for the child to have a life. Having an abortion because you were raped, doesn’t mean you are going to always feel better afterwards, either. Two wrongs do not equal a right.

In the question of having an abortion due to a rape case being moral, the answer is no. The two main reasons of pregnancy being a way of extending yourself and being wronged in rape does not mean you have the right to wrong the life of the unborn explain why it isn’t. Of course, in every good argument, there is always the counterargument. Abortion is no exception to the rule.

One argument can be found with the second reason of it not being right to wrong someone just because you were wronged. In the case of rape, you are not given a choice, so why should you be expected to go through unnecessary troubles. Someone might argue that you weren’t asked if you wanted to be raped, so why should you have to ask when doing something you feel will better yourself.

By not having the abortion, you are prohibiting your will to power. It was said above that being raped can harm the victim’s will to power, in that they become insecure and unsure of themselves. This is true, but it can also be said that in not having the abortion, the victim wouldn’t be able to live their life to the fullest. By having a child when one isn’t planning on it can throw off a person’s life plans. A woman might chose to have an abortion instead of going through with the pregnancy and then giving the child up for adoption because she feels it wouldn’t be the best thing for her to do. Using one’s will to power involves facing the hardest choice, and choosing to have an abortion is not an easy decision. Therefore in having the abortion, a woman might be choosing the harder path in making herself better, if she feels the only way to do that is have the abortion. She is using her will to power to make her a greater person.

Another argument to be made in favor of abortions being moral in rape cases is that conception is not the creation of a new life, but formation of new tissues. I mentioned above that people don’t always look at conception being the creation of a new person. People who accept the idea of an abortion tend to feel that the fetus is not a person until different points during pregnancy. Some people feel it isn’t a person until it has a heart beat or even born. Pro-choicers don’t feel there is any wrong in removing a fetus if the woman is sure it will be better for her without it.

In being raped, you are not given a choice, but have your choice made for you. Someone who has an abortion does it because they think their life will be better for it. They are using their will to power to become greater. Not having the abortion will only hinder their ability to live their life to the fullest. The idea that a new person is not formed at conception, just a fetus, or tissue formation, helps to make the process easier. These arguments make for the counterargument against abortions due to rape cases being not moral.

1.Thus Spake Zarathustra, by Nietzsche., Heritage House ’76, 1998.
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