Abortion by Mary Anne Warren

As the topic suggests the main point and thesis of..

Abortion by Mary Anne Warren

As the topic suggests the main point and thesis of the writer’s article is the moral and legal status of abortion. Personally she is in favor of it but connected to it are argumentative questions that are cited by her regarding community, rights of human beings and the standing of a fetus in that community. She supports her belief by the definition of “Human” which is a “full-fledged member of the moral community”. But there is a difference between the “moral sense” and “genetic sense” of being a human. The above stated definition refers to humans being part of the moral community in the moral sense. The traditional idea that a fetus is an innocent human being so it is wrong to kill it refers to the genetic sense, so the writer excludes fetuses from the moral community, thus disagreeing with Noonan’s argument that fetus has the genetic code and potentiality of rational thought making it part of the moral community. To define the moral community she gives the criteria of “personhood” and whether a fetus is a person. The presence of religion, art and skill makes us human in the moral sense distinguishing us from our ancestors who were no doubts humans but only in the genetic sense. She believes that a reasoning human being conscious of surroundings and pain, able to communicate and in possession of “self concepts” and “self awareness” is a person. The dispute between anti and pro abortionist can be resolved by the understanding of this criteria.

She feels both will agree that consciousness and presence of self-concepts is vital for a person, thus proving the writer’s argument that only genetic humanity does not make a person, excluding fetus from moral community and acquiring moral rights. If adult human being is called a person then two complications arise regarding the age of fetus qualifying it to be person like and the level of access it has to moral rights as a person like entity. The writer is pro-abortionist as she feels that a fully developed fetus does not fall in the criteria of even being properly person like thus giving women the legal right of abortion at any stage of pregnancy. She overrides the legal argument that such abortions are immoral and will decrease the respect of human life. Even the potential of being a person on growing up does not take away the rights of an actual person, as the writer sticks to her point very strongly by giving a very sound example of the space explorer. In short an actual person will hold more value than a potential person and denying the right of abortion to a woman to preserve her life, health or freedom is the violation of a “woman’s most basic moral and constitutional rights”.

The writer denies the accusation on her argument that it justifies infanticide as a new born and a last term fetus are person like. She gives reasons like childless couples eagerness to adopt and the new born not being a risk to woman’s life or health to prove that she is not justifying infanticide. So in the presence of such choices the desire for infanticide is inhumane. But the writer comes forward with a very controversial scenario that if a society is unable to care for an infant without endangering the existing lives or the infant is physically and mentally challenged bound for a short miserable life of agony it is not morally wrong to end its life that requires to be artificially prolonged. The strength of the writer’s argument is reflected through her belief in it. She is a feminist and a very practical one who does not allow emotions to sway her from her helm. I also agree to a woman’s right of abortion to save her life and health but personally disagree with termination of life to save oneself from the responsibility and sacrifice of raising a child. Here lies the weakness of the argument as it is monstrously shocking to the emotions and sentimentalities of a common person, who cannot be as coldly rational as the writer. I believe that life is important, either of the woman or a fetus and it should not be wantonly destroyed. The writer walks a very thin line while supporting the flag of a woman’s right to abortion as her intelligent but cold rationality can easily be mistaken for disrespect of human life.  In my opinion the writer took a brave step in discussing such sensitive topic knowing that it can generate a wave of public dislike towards her.



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