“Abortion Is Impermissible, Because It Deprives A Being Of A Future Like Ours. Accordingly, It Is Morally Similar To Killing A Healthy Adult.” Critically Discuss This Argument, Drawing Upon At Least One Of The Authors We Have Looked At In The Readings.

1158 words - 5 pages

Philosophy essayTopic: "Abortion is impermissible, because it deprives a being of a future like ours. Accordingly, it is morally similar to killing a healthy adult." Critically discuss this argument, drawing upon at least one of the authors we have looked at in the readings.Abortion remains one of the most controversial moral issues. Aside rare exceptions, the perception that abortion is seriously immoral has received little support in contemporary philosophical literature (Marquis, 1989). Nonetheless, a number of views exist when it comes to explaining the permissibility of abortion, especially when future prospects of the foetus are taken into account. From the personhood and potential aspect, a foetus will acquire the characteristics and capacities marking them as persons through the normal course of life events. Thus, it is reason for abortion to be impermissible (Handfield, 2011). However, Singer, alongside the moderates, make note of the flaws in this argument, resulting in Marquis' argument, that the loss of ones life is one of the greatest losses one can suffer, more appealing. His argument lends great credibility to the idea that abortion deprives a being of a future like ours; thus, it is morally similar to killing a healthy adult.The personhood and potential argument suggests that foetuses have the prospective ability to acquire the same characteristics and capabilities as us, which would mark them as "persons"- rational and self-conscious beings (Singer, 1993). This argument proposes that: it is wrong to kill a potential human being, a human foetus is a potential human being, and thus, it is wrong to kill a human foetus (Singer, 1993). One might argue that a foetus does not have those features and never did- it is only those who are temporarily deprived of those who are entitled to protection in their absence (Handfield, 2011). Furthermore, as Singer points out, the first premise, that it is wrong to kill a potential human being is weaker than the first premise of the Sanctity of life argument, that it is always wrong to kill an innocent human being. For he argues that potential X does not have all the rights of an X. For example, a 17 year old is a potential voter, however, they don't have the right to vote. A person supporting the potential view may then argue that though potential X may not have all the rights of an X, potential is ordinarily taken to be morally significant and provide us with reason for action.Therefore, the argument from potential suggests abortion is impermissible. However the distinction between potential personhood and actual personhood may be used by one who wishes to argue that abortion, in some circumstances, such as when the mothers life or health is at risk, is justified. They might say that although we have an obligation to protect the interests of potential persons, whenever there's a serious conflict of interests between an actual and potential person, we should prefer the actual person (Handfield,...

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