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Orginial Postion Essay

1411 words - 6 pages

The Original Position thought experiment devised by John Rawls, requires one to argue for a client behind a veil of ignorance. Not knowing anything about the advantageous or disadvantageous position of said client within society, one has to resolve the issue presented in a way that does not discount the interests of any member of society. The Original Position invokes the social contract in which all members of society are seen as rational agents who consent to principles from a self-interested stance. It concedes that rational agents will agree that something is right if and only if it is seen as treating them as equal participants in that self-regarding decision. It requires an egalitarian approach to moral dilemmas in that all members of society are rationally consenting individuals with an equal right to basic liberties. Those in the Original Position must use all natural facts known to them in order to make their decision, and must also be concerned with those most likely to be exploited by such a decision—the safest bet being one that prevents the worst possible scenario. There is also no conception of the Good or of any moral hierarchy. In this way, the Original Position acts as a kind of fast-track test in assessing the validity of universalized maxims or laws by hypothetically applying them to an idealized, egalitarian model of the world. In applying the Original Position to the contentious issue of abortion this would mean that my gender neutral client would be operating in a world devoid of gender oppression. While a world of free, and equal people would presumably not partake in objectifying acts and therefore not produce unwanted offspring there are still natural facts that necessitate the abortion procedure in securing the rights of the mother in cases where pregnancy threatens her life. The Original Position necessitating protection for those least advantaged, would therefore have to protect the mother in such a life-threatening situation.
Natural facts in this case also discount the rational status of the fetus, which negates the possibility of arguing in favor of the fetus's right to life over that of the mother's. The slippery slope aspect of the status of the fetus, is a constant point of derision in the case of abortion. Nonetheless, the Original Position requires me to note that banning abortion because it is akin to the taking of a life is incompatible with the real world dynamics of such a stance. Abortion is a medical procedure used to terminate a pregnancy at the request of the mother for any number of reasons. Abortion is also the miscarriage of a fetus naturally by expulsion through the uterus. The problem seems to lie solely in the active participation of morally blameworthy agents who choose to opt for a medical procedure to carry out something that also happens naturally. If the problem lies in playing God, in taking God-given life, then there would be problems with all medical procedures that circumscribe God's...

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