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Why Abortion Is Immoral Or Not

1621 words - 7 pages

Why Abortion is Immoral by Don Marquis is an essay that claims that abortion is morally wrong, and uses one argument in particular to explain why. He argues that many of us would agree that it is wrong to kill a human, and if you believe that then you should also have that view on abortions. If you think killing is wrong then you think all killing is wrong and the persons biological state, whether it is when a person is a fetus, one years old, or thirty years old, makes no difference. He then explains that killing is wrong not only because it is immoral, but wrong because it deprives the victim of life and the enjoyments one would have otherwise experienced; which Marquis believes is the ...view middle of the document...

This leads him to his next claim that a person’s biological state makes no difference in deciding where the morality line of killing lies.
Marquis uses the example if someone looked just like you or me, but biologically were alien would that make killing it okay? If the only noticeable difference of the species could only be seen under a microscope and it looked, and acted just like a human then of course we would think it was wrong to kill. Marquis thinks it would not be okay but in fact just as immoral as killing one of us. He uses this argument to show that regardless of the difference in biological states of beings it is still immoral to kill anyone that has similar interest of humans. So it would have to be immoral to kill the fetus because they are no different than killing the alien who has interest just like any of us do. This point is used to counter-argue any claim that the fetus is not human, it shows you that regardless eventually that fetus will be human, and who are we to not allow it to live a long and prosperous life.
In this essay Marquis argues killing a person or a fetus is wrong because of the deprivation of life which is immorally impermissible. But if he believes that, then one might argue that if what makes abortion wrong is depriving one of life, then you must believe that contraception is immoral as well. With this reduction ad absurdum argument Marquis responds that his argument does not lead to that conclusion. During conception there are millions of sperm released and life has yet to be conceived, life begins when the sperm is fertilized by the ovum and it is not wrong to prevent it, but becomes wrong after it has already happened. It is not a loss of a future like we being alive would entail because there is non-arbitrarily identifiable subject of loss in the case of contraception (Marquis, 202). He uses four categories to explain why this conclusion does not lead to his argument; (1) some sperm or other, (2) some ovum or other, (3) a sperm and an ovum separately, (4) some ovum and sperm together (Marquis, 201). The first two categories explain that there are million sperms released in an ejaculation and no one is guaranteed a future at that point and there is one ovum released during sex and that too does not entail fertilization, therefor there is no future being deprived by contraception. Category three and four clarify the big difference, but an ovum and sperm separate and an ovum and sperm together. Together the sperm and ovum becomes a person, separately they are just an ovum and a sperm and separate are not capable of forming life, hence not depriving one of a future.
Marquis’s argument that abortion is immoral and wrong because it deprives one from its future does not seem like a convincing argument to me. There are plenty of other reasons why abortion could be immoral and this particular argument leaves holes that would not withstand any rebuttal one opposed might argue. When the question is raised that...

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