People have always been discussing different matters connected with the question of life. Questions of origin of our life, its sources and value have always been actual and keen, and philosophers of all epochs have been discussing them As a result of their discussion the idea of a great value of human life appeared and became the most important and even generic in terms of philosophy. However, with the development of society and civilization, new sense of this question was introduced.
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It became obvious that not everything is so clear with an understanding of the value of human life. The question obtained its new actuality with mass introduction and development of the practice of abortions. The main point to discuss is whether it is possible to consider this organism as a human being or not. A great number of adherers of different directions appear. Someone believes that fetus is the same human being as a common man and has its own right to live and exist.
Another group believes that it is just a set of dividing cells, which does not have any conscience and soul. From this point of view lungs or stomach have the same right to be called a human being as a developing fetus has. Moreover, there are a lot of other questions to discuss connected with this issue.
First of all, everyone has its own opinion whether a mother has right to manage this fetus and do everything she wants or she is just an incubator which has no rights to interrupt fetuss development, and she just has to do everything to guarantee the best conditions for its growth. Another important question raises. There is a great number of different opinions on whether abortion should be legalized or not.
Taking into account all previous debates on this question, it is possible to suggest how important this issue is. Legalization of abortions depends on debates on two previous questions, and sometimes it is very difficult to make a decision. That is why there is a great number of different countries in the world with a different approach to this question. Somewhere it is legalized. However, there is a great number of countries where abortion is strongly prohibited.
Moreover, this question also touches some religious matters, and it makes this issue even more disputable. Church and religion play a great role in our life, and that is why their influence in the decision of this question is very strong.
With this in mind, it is possible to say that the question of abortion is a very keen issue which sets the table for a great number of different debates. However, for me, it is clear that abortions should be legalized, as I totally agree with Judith Thomsons statement that a newly fertilized ovum is no more person than an acorn is an oak tree (Thomson 1971).
In this work, I argue that prohibition of abortions is wrong for reasons that it is impossible to consider this set of sells to be a human being and that sometimes they are needed just to save the life of a mother.
However, there is another point of view introduced by Don Marquis in his article Why Abortion Is Immoral. In this article, the author is stressing the moral aspect of this question. He says that human being is not just a set of some biological factors, and it is not biology which determines a human being. He underlines the simplicity of a choice if to consider human beings to be a biological category (Marquis, 1989).
He stresses the moral aspect of this process by giving examples and showing the readers some difficulties connected with the definition of the fetus. Underlining the fact that there are people who are for abortions because this set of sells does not have any signs of conscience, the author, however, points out difficulty of determining the presence of conscience. He gives an example with a sleeping man. He does not have any signs of conscience at this moment.
That is why according to adherers of legalization of abortions people have the right to kill this man as at this moment he does not show any signs of conscience. Moreover, in conclusion he says that it is wrong to kill adult people. However, humanity can think about killing unborn people. This fact sounds like a paradox, and the author ends his article by stating the fact that the problem of abortions is the problem of determining properties of the fetus.
However, being rather convincing while speaking about moral aspects of the question of abortions, Marquis forgets about biological and physical aspects of this procedure and this question in the whole. The author is trying to underline that biology is not the main thing to determine our belonging to human beings, shifting the accent to our moral qualities. However, it is the weakest point of the authors arguments.
It is impossible to ignore our organisms and physiology. That is why there are some obvious objections to his arguments. First of all, we should not forget about situations when abortion procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life. The author makes reservations about it, contradicting to his arguments. The fetus does not lose all his moral qualities if these problems exist. However, the procedure should be accomplished to save existing life without thinking about the new one as it is just theoretical.
In these terms, abortion is a necessary procedure. Secondly, the example with unconscious man cannot be very convincing, as he is proved and known to have all qualities which are peculiar to a human being when a fetus is only supposed to have. It is possible to conclude, that adherers of this theory have a lot of weak points which are connected with their desire to shift accents to the moral sphere, ignoring our biology.
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Taking into account this conclusion and the information gained from Thomsons article, it is possible to repeat the statement of the necessity of abortion procedure. Moreover, it is not only a question of biology. Adherers of the prohibition of abortions say that women have the right to do this procedure if she was raped. This, of course, is a terrible thing and it is very difficult to speculate on this issue. However, the question remains whether there are any changes for a fetus. He still has a conscience and a right to live.
The only difference is that he has appeared not as a result of an act of love but as a result of an act of violence. It changes a lot for a woman, but it changes nothing for a fetus. However, it is said that a woman has the right to interrupt this kind of pregnancy. That is why the ethic approach to this question also has its difficulties and drawbacks. “The belief that moral strictures against killing should apply equally to all genetically human entities, and only to genetically human entities, is such an error” (Warren, 1973, para. 54).
That is why at least some factors should be taken into account while trying to analyze such a difficult issue as abortions. It is very easy to make a false statement, basing only on some facts which do not show the whole image of the question.
Having analyzed different sources and points of view, it is possible to make the following conclusions. Abortion is a necessary procedure which should be legalized. I completely agree with the point of view of Judith Thomson, who stresses the fact that in spite of different approaches to this issue, abortions should be taken as an integral part of our life. It is difficult to call a set of cells, which appears after fertilizing of an ovicell as a human being.
Moral aspects of this procedure were also analyzed. The main idea of adherers of the prohibition of this procedure is that it is impossible to kill a creature which has its conscience, and that is why these procedures should be strongly prohibited. However, they have a weak point.
It is impossible to ignore the biological aspect of pregnancy as the fetus can kill the mother. Moreover, even from ethics, they say that abortion is possible in cases when a woman was raped, making difference in destiny of two fetuses, which according to their logic should both have right to live. That is why it is possible to say that abortion is a necessary procedure.
Marquis, D. (1989). Why abortion is immoral? Journal of Philosophy, 86. pp. 183 – 202.
Thomson, J. (1971). A defense of abortion. Philosophy and public affairs, 1(1). pp. 47 – 66.
Warren, M. (1973). On the moral and legal status of abortion. The Monist, 57(4). n.p.