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Philosophy Of Abortion Essay

1091 words - 5 pages

Philosophy of Abortion
With about 1.3 million aborted pregnancies annually, abortion has become one of the most highly debated issues in our country and tends to leave both pro-life and pro-choice advocates furious (Operation Rescue). Many circumstances involved with this issue can make choosing a side tough, including the conditions the fetus will live in after birth and the rape of a women. When debating, people often focus on the personhood of the fetus, the rights the fetus obtains, and the morality of abortion.
There are three main views on abortion. The first is the conservative view; this view argues that a fetus holds personhood from the point of conception on making abortion a form of homicide. An objection to this view is that many people find it improbable that the zygote is a person. Most people do not have a problem admitting it is a human, but since a zygote possess no individuality, it can be hard to call the zygote a person (Gordon).
Secondly, the liberal view claims that a baby becomes a person immediately after birth. One major objection to this view is that though the fetus is far more developed than the zygote from the conservative point of view, there is no clear moral difference between the baby five minutes before and after birth. To most, the death of the infant at either time would be just as tragic.
Thirdly, the moderate view holds that there is a moral status difference between the fetus and the infant, and this determines the justifiability in terminating the pregnancy in the early months when the fetus does not look like a baby/human. This provides a clear middle ground between the conservative and liberal views. However, the line for which the moral status of the offspring changes is unclear (Gordon). There are several stages of development and many different views on when in the pregnancy fetus obtains moral rights. Morality in a society is developed by the legal system of a society, so a fetus will gain rights once it becomes a person that when killed it is considered murder. As previously stated, the conservatives believe that this happens at conception. They believe that the fetus becomes its own person once the genetic material differs from that of the mother making it immoral to kill that person. The liberals believe this begins at birth. Once the baby is no longer attached to the mother, the baby gains moral rights, but again, there is no distinctive difference between babies five minutes before and after a birth (Gordon).
Moderates can believe in three major different points in the pregnancy in which the fetus gains moral rights. The first is the first movement of the fetus. To some the first movement signifies a separation between the mother from the fetus. It shows that the fetus is moving on its own with no help or motivation from the mother. An issue with this thought is that the fetus moves a lot earlier than when the mother can first feel it, somewhere between the sixth and...

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