This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Abortion Essay 13

2631 words - 11 pages


MAIN ETHICAL ISSUES. The applied ethical issue of abortion involves a consideration of the
reasons for or against terminating the life of a fetus. Much has been written on the issue of
abortion both in the popular press and in the philosophical literature. The debate focuses on two
distinct issues: (1) whether a human fetus has a right to life, and, if so, (2) whether the rights of the
mother ever override the fetus's right. Often the issues are discussed independently of each other.
Discussion of the first issue, regarding a fetus's right to life, usually draws on the concept of moral
personhood. A being is a morally significant person when it is a rights holder, and we ...view middle of the document...

The challenge is in
providing reasons in support of one criterion over another.
But even if we all could agree on a criterion of personhood, such as the moment of conception, the
abortion debate would not be over. For, questions arise about whether the mother's right of
self-determination overrides the rights of the fetus. It is the mother's body that is affected by the
pregnancy, and it is her emotional and social life that will be drastically altered for at least the next
nine months and beyond. These factors carry at least some weight. Other potentially overriding
factors complicate the rights of the fetus, such as whether the pregnancy resulted from rape, or
contraception failure. Arguments are required from both camps to establish the relative weight of
these factors.
Historically, attitudes about abortion and the moral status of a fetus have fluctuated. Aristotle
endorses abortion when writing that "when couples have children in excess, let abortion be
procured before sense and life have begun; what may or may not be lawfully done in these cases
depends on the question of life and sensation" (Politics, 7:16). The Hippocratic Oath states "Nor
will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion." The Jewish Talmud, compiled around 600 CE,
holds that "an embryo is a limb of its mother" [Hulin 58a] and for the first forty days after
conception, the embryo is "simply water" [Yevamot 69b]. A fetus's life is of equal importance to that of the mother's only "once its head has emerged (from her body)"[Mishna Oholot 7:6].
Medieval theologians address the question of the moral status of a fetus by examining whether the
fetus has a human soul. Aquinas held that the fetus only gradually acquires a human soul, and in
the early stages of pregnancy is not technically human. The basis for Aquinas's view is a position
called hylomorphism, that is, that the human soul can only exist in a distinctly human body. For
example, a wooden chair cannot have a human soul. God, then, does not implant the human soul in
a fetus until it that fetus takes a distinctly human form. Aquinas believed that this happened at
about 40 days for males and 80 days for females. Scholars speculate that the difference was based
on the point at which male and female sex organs could be observed in miscarriages. The
implication is that one does not kill a human by aborting a fetus prior to the point at which it
obtains a soul. In the selection below, Aquinas describes the process by which a fetus acquires a
distinctly human soul. Following Aristotle's tripartite division of the soul, Aquinas argues that the
fetus first has only the vegetative soul, which allows it to take in nutrition. For Aquinas, the fetus
gets this directly from the father's semen, which follows the natural mechanism by which life
produces more life. Next, the fetus develops a sensitive soul, which allows it to have sensations.
Finally, though a special act of creation, God implants the...

Other Papers Like Abortion - Essay 13

Teenage Pregnancy in Wales and Denmark

1412 words - 6 pages . The Royal College of Midwives said improved sex education and availability of contraception had helped. Abortion rates have also fallen in the last 10 years. The Welsh government reported in March last year that pregnancies in girls under 18 had fallen to their lowest rate in 18 years. The highest areas of conceptions per year in girls conceiving under the age of 16 per 1,000 girls aged 13-15 in Wales are Wrexham, Rhondda-Cynon-Taff and

En 209 Civil Disobedience Critical Essay

1594 words - 7 pages Lloyd Wyse Melissa Hull EN 209-014 April 18, 2012 Critical Essay: Civil Disobedience Civil disobedience is the active refusal to comply with certain laws or demands of a government, such as paying fines or taxes. Although it is not necessarily on-violent, it has classically been attributed to nonviolent resistance. The etymological origin of the term is from Henry David Thoreau’s essay Resistance to Government, written in 1849, which was

Changes During the Twilight Millenium

1606 words - 7 pages HY101 SHORT ESSAY What Changes Took Place During the ‘Twilight Millenium’? NAME ID COURSE CORDINATOR DUE DATE : : : : CHANDRA SEGRAN PILLAY S01002219 DR. MORGAN. T. 22ND OCTOBER, 2010. [SHORT ESSAY – FINAL ASSIGNMENT ] CHANGES DURING THE ‘TWILIGHT MILLENIUM’ Ian Campbell refers to the ‘twilight millenium’ as the period from 1000AD to 1800 AD, an era of eight hundred years 1. This period underwent major climatic changes which

The Sixties Movement

2478 words - 10 pages The Sixties Movement In this essay I am going to examine Arthur Marwick’s argument that the sixties were characterised by counter-cultural movements across a number of areas. I will consider the extent to which counter-cultural movements can be identified, see what impact they do or do not have or have not on mainstream culture and see if there is any evidence to support Marwick’s view. The areas I am going to use to analyse his argument

Thomas Malthus

4635 words - 19 pages ESSAY: THOMAS MALTHUS Born: 13-Feb-1766 Birthplace: Rookery, near Dorking, Surrey, England Died: 29-Dec-1834 Location of death: St. Catherine, near Bath, England Cause of death: unspecified Remains: Buried, Bath Abbey, Bath, England Gender: Male Race or Ethnicity: White Occupation: Economist Nationality: England What many know, at least those with an elementary knowledge of economics or politics, is that Malthus is the surname of

Female Foeticide

4914 words - 20 pages to 964 in 1971, to 962 in 1981 and to 945 in 1991. But the sharpest decline has been during 1991-2001. He examined the causes for decline of the sex ratio of the child population. They are: · Neglect of the girl child resulting in their higher mortality at younger ages. · Higher maternal mortality · Sex selective female abortion · Female infanticide · Change in sex ratio at birth He explained that

Problem Of Evil

1963 words - 8 pages One well known philosophical dilemma, that causes much of humanity significant grief and frustration towards religious beliefs, is the problem of evil. John Hick explains in his essay, “The Problem of Evil”, that this ‘crisis’ so to speak is based on three characteristics that Christians claim God has. Christians believe that God has infinite knowledge, power and love. The question that is then raised is: Why is life on earth filled with vast

To What Extent Does Mackie's Argument from Relativity Support His Error Theory

2088 words - 9 pages queerness. In this essay I will be addressing the argument from relativity. I will show that although popular objections to the argument of relativity attempt to derail Mackie’s error theory, they are weak and unable to offer arguments with strong explanatory power for widespread disagreement. I will show that the argument from relativity supports Mackie’s error theory by offering the best explanation for moral disagreement. Mackie draws an

Final Phy265

2520 words - 11 pages Please read through these instructions very carefully. This is your final exam in PSY265. These questions compose a plethora of topics read and discussed in our class for the past nine weeks. This exam consists of73multiple choice questions worth 1 point each, 13 fill in the blank questions worth 6 points each, and an essay question worth 99 points. The total possible points for the exam is 250. All of these questions were taken directly from

Where Does the Law Stop

2760 words - 12 pages decision in the federal appellate case, United States v. Brawner, 471 F.2d 969 (1972). Fein, Bruce. “Capital Punishment Essay – The Death Penalty;:” Capital Punishment Essay – The Death Penalty ;:. General Counsel for the Center of Law and Accountability, 17 June 2008. Web. 01 Nov. 2015 “The M’Naghten Rule – FindLaw.” Findlaw. FindLaw, 13 June 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2015 Tomasson, Robert E. “U.S. ATTORNEY SEEKS END OF INSANITY DEFENSE PLEA.” The New York Time. The New York Times, 06 Aug. 1982. Web 30 Oct 2015 Robert Macy, District Attorney of Oklahoma City West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Freedom And Responsibility

2141 words - 9 pages therefore, a petition to a court to have the court issue orders for someone to address the grievance and should be done to fix the problem. The article called “HIV positive boy denied admission sues Hershey school,” clarifies the family of a 13-year-old boy who is diagnosed with HIV sued the school board for denying his admission. The Milton Hershey School, a cost-free, private school for unfortunate pre-kindergarten through high school students

Related Essays

To What Extent Should The Law Reflect A Moral Vision, Even When This Involves An Interference With The Rights Of Individuals Who Might Disagree With That Vision?”

2082 words - 9 pages hindered due to the contrasting moral vision of others. The purpose of this essay is to explore the way in which abortion as an issue is one which has been greatly affected by adverse moral visions. As a result, the rights of individuals in Ireland who may disagree with that vision have been affected. The Enactment of the 8th Amendment. The lawfulness of abortion under the constitution of Ireland can be considered as a topic which has sparked

Analysis Of Metaphor And Mothers

1309 words - 6 pages Laza Smith Prof Johnson Eng 200 April 22 2012 Formal Essay #2. The poems “metaphors” by Sylvia Plath and “the mother” by Gwendolyn Brooks both have the same theme of pregnancy. Alongside “hills like white elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, they talk about the trials and tribulation that comes with having being pregnant. Sylvia Plath begins the poem with a riddle which gives us a clue to the structure of the poem and its theme, she

Sex Education In Schools Essay

1191 words - 5 pages Amber Dahlke, A woman who is trying to find the solution and the power to encourage the government to agree with “comprehensive sex education”, makes a very great statement in her essay. She provides the information to show her views, she has pointed out in great detail, why “comprehensive sex education” is a better idea than going with “abstinence sex education”. She also lists a lot of detailed sources that help her claim and make her points

Satire In A Modest Proposal Essay

1285 words - 6 pages “modest” proposal. Through this building of the logical argument, Swift is actually highlighting real issues such as overpopulation, abortion, lack of education, theft and lack of food. In a final paragraph, Swift proposes real solutions all the way at the end of his essay. By having a whole satirical essay to merely draw attention to the issues and then with one paragraph, mention all the solutions, Swift cleverly and concisely delivers his point