Why Abortion is Impermissible In my own view, I believe that abortion is immoral except in certain situations that the fetus puts both the mother’s and its life in a serious danger. I am going to assume “the human fetus has a right to life and if the human fetus has a right to life, then abortion Is Impermissible”, even though It can be challenged. I believe that Don Marquis has presented a strong argument In favor of the view that abortion Is Immoral.
In fact, Marquis’ states In his premise one that “any being that can be deprived of a future like ours has a right to life”, the second premise is that “the unman fetus has a future like ours”. Thus, Marquis’ conclusion is “the human fetus has a right to life”(Lecture Slides 14). I believe that a third premise to this argument would be if the human fetus has a right to life, abortion is impermissible, except in certain situations that the life of both mother and the fetus is in danger.
Thus, I conclude that abortion is impermissible except in certain situations that the life of both mother and the fetus is in danger. I want to break down Marquis’ argument and analyze his first premise to understand what was the underlying rationale for each point that he made. He compares the human fetus to a person and abortion to killing. Then he attacks the questions of killing and what makes it morally wrong to kill someone. What’s the underlying rationale for malignantly In premise one that humans have a right to life?
In this argument, right to life Is closely connected with the future- a future like ours concept. We might be tempted to ask what is so unique experiences- either good or bad, different activities, pleasures and accumulation of knowledge and etc. All of these experiences have value to us. Sometimes we might not value things that are going to happen in our future because we might think that our future is unknown. For Marquis, the future has value independent of whether or not it is recognized by the person or the fetus.
For instance, a suicidal teenager might not see any value to her future but Marquis would maintain that her future has value. Having a future like ours alone is enough of a reason for Marquis to put human fetus under the umbrella of morality, which in this case is, in fact, connected to the issue of killing or aborting the embryo. He is approaching the morality of abortion from the future like ours perspective but not from genealogical or biological factors about the embryo. So a being can have a future like ours but not be a person.
For instance, we can also apply this concept to a newborn baby or a toddler. A newborn baby or a toddler doesn’t have the conceptual capacity of an adult human but he/she has a future like ours. So Marquis holds that one can have a future like ours even though one is not in the state of Persephone. It is fairly obvious that a fetus, if it comes to term, will have a future like ours. Meaning that the fetus will have experiences and activities in the future that will be valuable. Basically, he is putting human fetus’ future parallel to our future.
Future like ours is a property of an adult human being as well as a newborn baby or a toddler so we cannot take that property away from a being. Having a future like ours is the reason we cannot kill/ abort either one. Now what does it mean to say “deprived”?! In this context, “deprived” means doing anything that can stop a being from having a future like ours such as killing or aborting. In an initial thought, we might be tempted to answer killing is always wrong (except if its for self-defense purposes) because we were always told that way. Some people would take a religious stand and say that God dewed killing as immoral.
But, for the sake of this argument we should look deeper into the act of killing. “Killing,” means taking somebody life- a life, which is so precious. In fact, it is the most precious value that a being can have and when lost, it is lost forever and can’t be retrieved. According to Marquis “when I am killed, I am deprived both of what I now value which would have been part of my future personal life, but also what I come to value… This being the case, it would seem that what makes killing any human being prima facie seriously wrong is the loss of his or her true” (Doing Ethics 198).
Both abortion and murder will result in depriving of a being from its future, which in all means it has the right to experience. Then one might say that euthanasia belongs to the category of depriving one of a future like ours; however, we should take into account that if a person is suffering from an incurable disease that is going to make him/her suffer and he/she would not really have a future like ours- meaning future is not going to benefit him/her- so taking it away doesn’t seem to be a loss. In my thesis I stated that abortion is immoral except in certain situations.
Those certain situations are very critical in morality of the abortion practice. There are women with certain health problems such as heart condition that prevent them from carrying a fetus until it’s born. By carrying a child, they will be risking their own lives. In this kind of situations, it is not immoral for the woman to abort the fetus because not doing so will put her own life in danger, which prevents the mother from having a future like ours even though the fetus itself has a future like ours.
However, the self-defense theory of Judith Jarvis Thomson (Doing Ethics 180), author of A Defense of Abortion, can be applied here. Since it is the fetus which puts another beings life in danger and that could be preventing the mother from having a future, aborting wouldn’t be immoral since the mother would be defending her own right to life. Someone may, however, object that Marquis’ definition of a right to life in terms of a future like ours isn’t enough to establish that a fetus has a right to life.
This causes a problem for the argument. One critic fundamentally challenged Marquis’ future like ours concept. Let us imagine we have a serum of Persephone that can transform a kitten to a person during a nine-month period. Later, that kitten turns into human; thus, he/she will have a right to life because the newly formed human will have a future like ours. However, we also have a serum antidote that will reverse the previous serum’s effects.
If we inject the serum when the kitten is at two months, that kitten will not turn into a person but if we inject the antidote when the kitten is a person at nine months, the person will go back to being a kitten. Is there a moral difference between giving the antidote to the kitten? It is intuitive for us that if you inject the antidote when it turned to person, you eave done something morally wrong like killed the person whereas when you injected the antidote when it was two months, that cannot be considered killing because the kitten is not human yet.
This example clearly illustrates the point that having a future like ours is not strong enough reason for someone to claim right to life. The moral take away from this story is that our intuition dictates that there is a difference between a human fetus and a newborn baby and that the right to life for a newborn baby is stronger than the fetus even though Marquis and I hold the view that both have the right to life. I believe that our intuitions cannot always be right for moral issues so we should Just bite the bullet and reject the conclusion of the critic’s story.