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 Questions for the 1st Writing Assignment

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PostSubject: Questions for the 1st Writing Assignment   Sun Nov 23, 2008 11:40 pm

1. Discuss the different positions made on the issue of abortion (i.e.
pro-choice, pro-life, pro-abortion) by focusing on the various
assumptions which their proponents make and with which their
respective arguments proceed. Are the assumptions true/acceptable?
Why/ why not?

2. Take a stand on the issue of abortion by bringing into prominence
certain concepts/terms that are crucial/central in the debate. How do
you propose these concept/terms to be understood/used in the context
of abortion? Make sure to elaborate by giving examples and making

3. Identify certain inferences, deductions or assertions made on the
issue of abortion. Given the various assumptions and claims these are
based on, are those inferences/assertio ns valid/justified? Identify
some contradictions or inconsistencies, if any.
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PostSubject: #2   Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:47 am

Abortion, as defined by, Webster's Dictionary, is the expulsion of a fetus prematurely. I believe that abortion is acceptable in some cases. These cases will be discussed according to my analysis of the articles written by Jane English and Susan Sherwin.
Jane English, in her essay “Abortion and the Concept of a Person,” argued that the examination of the personhood status of the fetus is not enough ground in the issue of abortion. She examined the concept of a person and argued that there is no single criterion in defining the concept of a person. She enumerated different examples of the definition of a person but stated that the definitions are problematic. It is problematic because anti-abortion people would define a person which would satisfy the personhood of a fetus while pro-abortion people would define a person which would not satisfy the personhood of the fetus. English concluded that the question whether a fetus is a person is unattainable but she had some ideas about abortion as justifiable. Firstly, abortion is still justifiable in many cases even if a fetus is a person. English justified this first idea by introducing an article entitled “A Defense of Abortion” by Judith Jarvis Thomson. This article introduces the notion of “self-defense.” Self-defense was defined here as the purpose of avoiding harms rather than equalizing it. For example, someone wants to destroy your term paper. This does not mean that you have to kill the person who wants to destroy your property. It is stated in the article that the injury a person may inflict for self-defense should only be the minimum necessary to incapacitate the attacker. Therefore, killing the person who wants to destroy your term paper is not justifiable but kicking the person is justifiable when we apply the conclusion of the essay on how to react when a person wants to attack. When it comes to the fetus, it is permissible to kill it even if it is an innocent person if it poses a threat to a woman. The only way to free the woman from the threat posed by the fetus is for the woman to have its right to be freed from the fetus and not a right to demand its death. The distinction is clear: the woman has a right only to be freed from the fetus and not a right to demand its death. In this sense, English argued that abortion is permissible only if it is required to save a woman's life. For example, as mentioned in the article, if the fetus poses a harm to the health of a woman, then it is permissible to kill the fetus. This act, for English, is what she means as “self-defense.” But self-defense cannot justify abortion if the pregnancy presents a slight threat to the woman's life. For example, it is not acceptable to have abortion just to continue going in a trip to Europe. To cancel the trip is just a slight threat to a woman's life. English stated that abortion is permissible whenever it is in the interests of the pregnant woman or her family. Firstly, abortion would be justifiable when the continuation of the pregnancy would cause harms to the woman. Secondly, even if abortion seems to be wrong, it is still justifiable to save a woman from significant injury or death. English concluded that the concept of a person is not adequate to set the abortion issue and secondly, abortion is justifiable early in pregnancy to avoid harms and justifiable late in pregnancy to avoid injury or death.
Susan Sherwin, in her article entitled “Feminist Analyses of Women and Abortion,” examined the differences between feminist and non-feminist analyses of the moral permissibility of abortion. Sherwin stated that feminists recognize that women have abortions for different reasons. For example, some women are seriously ill that they can not continue to have the fetus so they just abort it. This case is justifiable because feminists, according to Sherwin, believe that women concerned are in the best position to judge whether abortion is the appropriate response to a pregnancy. Also, feminists believe that the central moral feature of pregnancy is that it takes place in women's bodies and has profound effects on women's lives. Feminist ethics promote the value of reproductive freedom or the condition under which women are able to make voluntary choices about their reproductive lives. Therefore, a woman has control whether to perform or not to perform abortion. On the other hand, nonfeminists believe that the moral acceptability of abortion turns on the question of the moral status of the fetus.
The essay of Jane English supported my stand that abortion is acceptable in some cases. I have enumerated examples and distinctions based on what I have understood from the essay. Susan Sherwin's essay introduced concepts of abortion in the perspectives of feminists. My claim that abortion is acceptable in some cases can be somehow viewed in the feminist ethics wherein women make voluntary choices about their reproductive lives. For example, a teenager decides to perform abortion just to avoid having a complicated life because of the psychological effect the baby may bring. In this case, performing abortion is a voluntary act and is therefore acceptable.

Last edited by Nicha on Thu Dec 04, 2008 6:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: answer to question#1   Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:46 am

Time and again, abortion has been considered a “hot topic” in various discussions and debates, as its legal and moral foundations are put into test. Controversies surrounding the issue are seemingly far from being resolved, a consequent of continuous struggle of competing groups to surface their respective value-judgments, views and evaluations on the said act. Although there were jurisprudences and other relevant pre-judged cases geared toward “clearing the coast,” much work is to be done to finally reach the end line of this dispute. In fact, many authors, philosophers, thinkers, and concerned groups have boldly expressed their viewpoints about the matter at hand. Understanding their claims and assumptions, overt and covert, will contribute a lot in the pursuit of assessing the moral permissibility of abortion.

First among others, the concept of personhood is of vital consideration in addressing the dilemma. It is to be noted that pro-abortion and anti-abortion groups usually meet at a certain point, when both of them have their own conceptions on the development of human beings. Literatures would tell us that there are a number of factors that may define a person. Such considerations may include biological, psychological, rationality, social, and legal requisites. It is in this light that Jane English, in her essay, argues that conception of personhood is not sharp or decisive enough to bear the weight of a solution to the abortion controversy. Furthermore, case in point that fragments in the definition of personhood arise, pro-abortionists take these much to their advantage. If a fetus is considered a person, an innocent for that matter, pro-abortionists would promote the act as morally permissible in the context of self-defence. They assume that the self-defence mechanism justifies abortion because it facilitates reduction of harm that can be inflicted to the mother. The fetus, according to them, may pose a threat to the well-being of the pregnant woman, thereby allowing the act to take place. It has to be emphasized however that there would only be a need to outweigh the pain and inconvenience that go along with abortion itself.

Such propositions are in contrary to the claims of the pro-life groups, that even if the fetus is not a person, abortion may not readily be allowable as there are other moral codes and principles that this society has ought to follow. This may not even be the main argument of the pro-lifers as Don Marquis, in his article entitled “Why Abortion is Immoral” developed the idea that life is present from the moment of conception or that fetuses look like babies or that foetuses possess characteristic such as a genetic code that is both necessary and sufficient for being human, thereby completely barring abortion from the scene. Anti-abortionists also argue that it is wrong to kill based on two major considerations: first that we regard killing as one of the worst crimes; and second, for HIV and Cancer victims, who know that they are dying believe, of course, that dying is a very bad thing for them. At the end of it, people behind life promotion and preservation would say that the moral permissibility of abortion stands or falls on the moral status of the fetus. Since a fetus possesses a property, the possession of which in adult human beings is sufficient to make killing an adult human being wrong, abortion follows to be wrong.

At the triangulate of this debate also rests the notion of pro-choice, which is a subject of feminist perspective. It argues that women have the right to choose abortion. It also evaluates abortion policy within a broader framework, and manages to include in the discussion other related matters such as the ongoing power struggle within sexist societies over the control of women and their reproduction. Pro-choice seeks to show when women can have abortions like for instance, when women find themselves seriously ill and incapacitated throughout pregnancy, or they cannot continue in their jobs, or suffer from chronic disease, or unable to maintain lasting relationships. For these reasons, feminists, in light of pro-choice framework, believe that the women concerned are in the best position to judge whether abortion is the appropriate response to a pregnancy. Feminism and pro-choice perspectives further advocate that women must be acknowledged as full moral agents, responsible for making moral decisions about their own pregnancies, must have the ability to control most other things she values, and must have the ability to control their own sexuality, among others. Through it all, feminism requires that abortion services be provided in an atmosphere that is supportive of the choices that women make.

Such viewpoints have shown equal strengths and weaknesses. Some of the assumptions and claims mentioned are found to be acceptable based on the grounds that they have provided. However, at the course of finding out the real score between and among competing views, there lies a more significant question of when and how can these theories and perspectives be appied. It is fact that our society is in accord with different moral and ethical standards, making it difficult to arrive at a consensus of whether or not a certain act or issue be considered deviant or acceptable. However, I am inclined to believe that abortion, throughout this seemingly endless debate, has found less to almost negligible acceptance to the general public for a simple fact that life in itself is a gift from God, our Creator, for which He can solely take away. Will and reason have been vested in us, let us use them responsibly.
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PostSubject: FOR THE SECOND QUESTION   Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:00 am

Taking a stand

After having read the articles provided for the class, I will support the PRO – LIFE position, BUT, there are certain modifications and limitations that I will introduce. The PRO – LIFE position that I will support is incorporated with an element from the PRO – CHOICE belief.

Reasons and Explanations


The PRO – LIFE belief states that life should always be valued, protected and enriched. Life, according to PRO – LIFE movements, starts at the point wherein the female’s egg cell is fertilized by the male’s sperm cell. Thus, the fertilized egg is the cradle of human life. With this belief, the notion of abortion will always be regarded as murder. Abortion therefore, in the context of PRO – LIFE movements, is the killing of an innocent life. Also, PRO – LIFE movements fight for what they refer to as fetal rights. Fetal rights are the rights of the conceived child to be born and protected.

Though I totally agree with the concepts of fetal rights, life having begun at the moment of fertilization and abortion as murder, I believe that there is/are special case/s or situation/s that abortion should be allowed. Hence, I used the PRO – CHOICE belief as a venue for these certain situations wherein abortion is permissible.


The PRO –CHOICE position states that a woman has complete control on her fertility thus, making her the sole decisive factor whether her pregnancy will be continued or will be terminated. This belief entails that a woman, with or without any logical or rational reason can always abort her child. Also, the PRO – CHOICE stand takes into consideration and highlights situations wherein for example: a woman wants to have an abortion because it was the product of a criminal activity (rape); a woman bears a child that is known to have defects or deformations through the use of pre-natal technologies; or the woman is threatened by the presence of the fetus. According to, other controversial situations that PRO – CHOICE movements mainstream are: failure of contraception and incapability of a mother to rear a child due to economic deprivation.


Life starts at the moment when fertilization happens. The fertilized egg is considered as the beginning of human life and existence. Therefore, any actions that are intended to harm or terminate the conception are considered violations to the fetal rights. However, abortion is only permissible if and only if: 1) when the mother wants abortion because she feels (and has been proven) that she is economically incapacitated to rear a child; and/or 2) the mere presence of the child threatens the entire health of the mother. In case number one, it should be noted that the abortion is initiated by the mother. Also, by harm in the second case, I mean psychological, physical, emotional stress to the point that it threatens the life of the mother and even the fetus. Therefore, all other reasons (alibis) for aborting a child should not be allowed, unless it will fall under the first and/or second special case/s.
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PostSubject: Q#1   Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:55 am

The gist of abortion as both a moral and legal controversy to our society has been apparent for the longest time and up to now there is still no unanimous answer to this growing issue. Different assumptions and arguments have surfaced resulting to the three positions that further intensified the continuous debate on the permissibility of abortion. These three positions are pro-life, pro-abortion and pro-choice. But before we delve into these three positions, we must first know what personhood is.
Personhood in the issue of abortion is described as to using the term “person” as a moral and normative term which implies membership to a moral community in which one receives protection from the other members of the community. The concept of personhood is what greatly runs the flow of the abortion debate for the moral permissibility of abortion greatly relies on whether the fetus would be classified as a person or a non-person. Just like what Don Marquis had asserted, “whether or not abortion is morally permissible stands or falls on whether or not a fetus is the sort of being whose life it is seriously wrong to end”.
The first position arising from the abortion controversy is the pro-life group. The group greatly believes that abortion is wrong for it can be equated to murder. The pro-life group has this assumption for they deem fetuses to be persons from the time of conception. They believe so for fetuses are backed-up with the biological factors of being a person such as being conceived by humans, having a certain genetic making up and having the ability to eventually develop into an adult human being. The fetuses’ ability to develop gave the pro-life group a strong argument when they pointed out the similarities between a fetus and a baby, especially since the fetus would be a baby nine months after conception, the similarities evoked emotional attachment and sympathy for the fetus. Also, this ability to develop into an adult human being reminded us of how keenly we observe our customs into respecting the dead. The “dead” who are just merely human bodies are not anymore persons but we still respect them; so it is only appropriate that a fetus also be shown respect for its body is continuous with the body of a person.
The next position on abortion is the pro-abortion group. The group regards abortion as something that the society can benefit from especially in the cases of having the possibility to have children with disabilities, sexually-abused or under-aged pregnant women, poverty and the lack of a family that would care for the baby. The pro-abortion group believes that abortion is not at all murder for it is only during birth that the fetus becomes a person. They have this assumption for they deem a fetus as very much unlike a person; it doesn’t have a head yet, a beating heart and the ability to respond to touch and to move by itself. The pro-abortion group also emphasized the connection between self-defense and abortion, for if the fetus poses a serious threat to the pregnant woman then she has the right to be freed of the fetus, not a right to demand its death making abortion not at all the same with murder.
The last position which is the pro-choice group does not entirely support the pro-abortion group but also deems that abortion has some benefits especially for women. Unlike the pro-life and pro-abortion groups, the assumptions and arguments of the pro-choice group were not made in accordance to the conceptualization of the fetus as person but rather on the oppression and rights of women. The pro-choice group believes that it is not with the fetus only that the abortion debate must concentrate on, but also on the relationship between the pregnant woman and the fetus. Abortion is justifiable when the continuation of the pregnancy or the birth of the child would cause physical, psychological, economic or social harms to the woman. Feminist groups also support this position for they believe that abortion is a way to stop the oppression of women as characterized by the treatment of men to women as breeding machines, sexual or aesthetic subjects and nurturers who need no nurturance; this mistreatment of women is apparent in several crimes in our society such as rape, incest, prostitution and slavery.
The assertion that a fetus can already be considered a person at the time of conception based on its biological factors has a strong point to it especially since the relation between human beings and fetuses is established by this, making the rights of human beings equivalent to the supposedly rights of the fetuses. Babies whom are considered by the pro-abortion group the only stage of development wherein the fetus can already be called a person, also lack psychological, rational, social and legal factors. Meaning, both fetuses and babies only have the biological factors to support their being humans yet babies are given more importance than fetuses. This is greatly unjust for the fetuses for let us not forget that both fetuses and babies have this continuity into being an adult human being, a “person” indeed. The benefit of abortion can be really associated with the oppression and rights of women, for it is true that it is their body in the first place and that they have right to do anything with it especially if the pregnancy would cause harm to the mother or to others. In all these, we must remember that it is with the underlying intention behind the supposed plan for abortion that we could really determine whether abortion should be permissible or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions for the 1st Writing Assignment   Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:50 am

The tussle among pro-choice, pro-life and pro- abortion advocates bring to light their assertions made to buttress the long-held gospel truths they have. In close scrutiny, all points raised by any of the competing parties exhibit a kind of pick-your-poison flaw, in such a way that to use a particular argument to support a claim would only leave the assertion vulnerable to other arguments not covered, without really being under siege from its opponents. Thus, it is deemed best to veer away from the traditional points of contention, to bring a fresh approach in the attempt to settle the abortion issue once and for all, since all battles waged before merely resulted in a stalemate.

Conservatives assert that life begins at conception and the fetus is an analog to a fully- developed human being, proposing sufficient conditions met by a fetus for personhood. Liberals, on the other hand, consider a fetus a human being only after birth, and provide the necessary conditions for personhood lacked by a fetus. Both view that personhood can be simply encapsulated by a set of traits and features in a checklist, and a fetus may possess some but not all of these. However, the qualification of a fetus as a human being, as a person, is not merely pegged on how many of these features were met, nor can we effectively assign the weight carried by each trait, all because a human being develops gradually, and it would be difficult to make certain what constitutes a “person”. The issue of abortion goes back to square one in so doing. Nothing is resolved, save for the fact that the personhood of the fetus is a weak basis to justify or defy abortion.

Thus, “pro-abortion” advocates use self-defense as a new tool in finally bringing to end the discussion. While it may be, that a fetus itself is innocent, it may threaten the overall well-being of the pregnant woman. Thus, the woman, in defense of her best interests, may opt to be freed from the fetus, not necessarily to mean a request for the fetus’ death. Moreover, the society at large would benefit in canceling out potential individuals who will most likely not fare well in their lives, say could end up as poverty- stricken or significantly handicapped. “Pro-abortion” advocates also sees no resemblance whatsoever between a fetus and a person, judging by the stark incompleteness of a fetus developmentally.

Enter supporters of the “pro-life” position, who state that we can’t treat non-persons in any way we choose, and some person-like non-persons, like a fetus, garner a certain kind of sympathy and compassion only awarded to persons. Should we overlook the “human being” in a fetus, we breach a code of ethics involving the tendency to feel and react similarly for person-like non-humans as we naturally do for humans. This argument contests the solid claim by “pro-abortion” advocates that abortion is morally permissible all the time. Moreover, they assert that killing a fetus strips him off a future, and ultimately suffers an unparalleled loss as he misses out in all possible experiences, activities, and pleasures he could have had in a lifetime, so this makes abortion wrong. This is supported by the claim that the death of a fetus totally eradicates all other possible crimes that may be dealt to him should he live, and this makes killing the worst of all crimes. Moreover, terminally-ill individuals find it oppressing and depressing to feel a sense of loss and regret for whatever that can no longer be gained or experienced when he dies, and this is also used as a support. This view is freed from the limitations of the claims of the conservatives, since this argument is independent of the inference that since it is wrong to kill persons, it is wrong to kill potential persons too.

The “pro-abortion” advocates found friends in “pro-choice” supporters, but they merely reflect a tale of two similar interests with different things in mind as to the rationale and logic in meeting that desired end. It may be said that feminists and non-feminist “pro-abortion” advocates view abortion similarly, meaning that they both approve of it, but it should be made clear that they differ in the relative emphasis given to the role of women in pregnancy, and in her interests and experiences as well. “Pro-choice” supporters see women as the focal point in the entire picture, shifting the attention from the moral status of the fetus to the current state-of-affairs of the woman. This side brings to light the empowered position of women in making moral decisions about their pregnancy, sans the influence and prodding of any philosopher or moralist, the desirable state of having women control their own sexuality which combats the patriarchal structure and the dependence of women in men in the delicate stages of pregnancy, and the coercion experienced by women as they play victims to sexual politics in our society. Abortion is seen in relation to the general patterns of oppression for women. The fetus is said to be a unique entity with a special tie to the pregnant woman. Feminists see the value of persons in the lens of the social nature of individual existence. It may well be said, that a fetus cannot exist apart from its relationship to the mother from whom it derives nourishment and protection, and the mother can live with or without the fetus. This implies that whatever importance attached to the fetus shall not in any way override the value accorded to it by the pregnant woman.

I for one find the use of all-too played-out personhood flimsy, as supported by the difficulty encountered in defining what constitutes a person, thereby making the assignment of the fetus problematic. It was far more convincing now that we have been presented new ways of defending the argument, by having a new take on the issue of abortion that goes beyond the concept of personhood. Abortion could indeed be morally permitted in the grounds of self-defense, as sufficiently claimed by “pro-abortion” advocates who not only looked after the welfare of the pregnant woman, but also considered the protection of the interests of the society. On the contrary, abortion will raise eyebrows as it forcefully robs a being, the fetus, of its future, and in the process, would not grant him even the slightest chance of gaining something out of life. It would also be best to hand the entire decision-making process to the pregnant woman herself, free of harassment or imposition from authorities, philosophers and moralists. After all, it is the woman who would ultimately bear the brunt of carrying the fetus.
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PostSubject: Re: Questions for the 1st Writing Assignment   Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:50 pm

History tells us that as mankind travels the timeline, he becomes more sophisticated. Discovery of technology, knowledge on politics, culture and economics had marked the society’s reach in the civilized world. With these developments, mankind becomes more self-aware thus concerns himself to issues surrounding the offshoots of his development specifically moral issues which has long created heated debates among staunch advocates. Abortion, a moral issue which has created and is still creating a divide among people as they rethink to themselves their own perspective of life involves the question: when does life start?

It seems that to be able to come up with a moral stance on abortion, it should be addressed through determining the moral status of the fetus. Many philosophers had tried framing this moral and legal question through discussing the concepts surrounding the fetus such as its being, its being a person and its traits that qualify the fetus as human, granted with all basic rights. Don Marquis clearly had elucidated in detail how abortion should be tackled through philosophical discourse on the rightness and wrongness in killing a person which frames the arguments of the two-pronged position in the debate. The two-pronged thought in abortion can be seen on the writings and the stance of these two groups: pro-choice and pro-life which will be discussed further below.

The center of the pro-choice position is located on the right of the woman to self-determination with whatever concerns her womb that is, her pregnancy. This entails arguments concerning the fetus as a nonbeing, and a nonperson therefore excluding it from the basic right to life. This argument, to the pro-choice, seemingly justifies the right to induced abortion since abortion does not entail killing. However, the pro-choice position varies. There are those who support abortion and those who don’t. These pro-abortionists can be said to belong on the extreme. Pro-abortionists argue for the absolute right to legal access to abortion. What differentiates them from the not-so-extreme pro-choice position is that the latter only supports abortion when the situation deeply calls for it such as when the life of the mother is endangered.

On the opposite end of the spectrum lies the pro-life. The pro-life position is centered on the assumption that life starts at conception. This assumption supports the notion that the fetus IS a human being therefore making its abortion a crime against mankind and the divine law.

The truth hood and the falsity of these arguments is not something that can be easily established. Right now, with the heat of the debate on the reproductive health bill, it would be very difficult to come up with a compromising position on the part of the government on abortion. This, along with many other factors such as the influence of religion and the culture of the Filipinos make the decision-making all the more difficult. Veering away on the national scope and limiting it on the tiny fraction of the plethora of opinions on the debate such as mine, I conclude that I do not belong to any of the mainstream thought mentioned above, that is, if I take each position as exclusive of each other with no overlapping of opinions. I take the full responsibility of declaring that my claim does not include rare cases which complicate the issue of abortion.

I think that the issue whether abortion should be allowed/done or not should be best left with the woman and her doctor. Abortion should NEVER EVER become a form of a family-planning method whether intended or not. It is not a resort to unevaluated course of action of people who are irresponsible enough to not get themselves informed. However, I do think that abortion can only be allowed in cases where the fetus endangers the life of the mother [yes, the self-defense argument which most people all know too well] and in itself has a low probability of survival. Thus, the choice whether the fetus can be aborted, I repeat and assert, should be best left to the doctor and the mother who knows best. [pun unintended].

I conclude this pitter-patter paper in three points. First, the fetus is human and has the potential to develop into a human being thus rendering them deserving of the right to life. Second, and for the third time I reiterate, the decision whether abortion should be done or not should be best left to the mother and the doctor. And lastly and corollary to the second point, abortion entails intentions. Thus, it is through the careful evaluation of the motive or the intention that we can all come up with a moral judgment that is justified and valid. The intention of carrying or aborting a baby should support the mother and the fetus and the benefits the society or the state may receive should only be secondary. Besides, mankind must be too self-absorbed to elevate himself to the highest position claiming to be the arbiter of who has the right to live which clearly, should not be the case and is subject of a different topic.
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PostSubject: My answer   Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:16 pm

Personhood, a future-like-ours theory, and the woman who bears the fetus are the key words for pro-choice, pro-life, and pro-abortion. In the following paragraphs, their positions based assumptions based on these (or lack of which, considering personhood) will be discussed. Each author has his or her own points and yet all take a distinctive stance, with seemingly little done to “reach out” and comprehensively understand the others’ sides.

Let us first take a look at the pro-abortion stance, in this case lead by Jane English. In her article, she depicts the endless debate of both pro and anti-abortion sides as to when a fetus attains “personhood”. The former usually say it is after birth while the latter insist it is after conception. Still, cultures around the world have even more definitions and even biologically, the answer is not set in stone as a fetus is in constant development.

From the outset, the author indicates that there are too many sets of criteria for “personhood” that our concept of a person is not weighty enough to bear the weight of the issue of abortion, and should not bear it in the first place.

The article then goes on to treat the fetus is a person, what would happen if, no matter how innocent a fetus were; the woman’s life is in danger (through any number of complications) because of it. Would killing it out of self-defense be permissible? (The author’s use of fanciful examples notwithstanding. Haha) if the fetus was treated as a non-person, would abortion be permissible? Not so, and English goes on to compare animals (who would want to Shoot The Dog, or drown kittens?) with fetuses.

Therefore, the article concludes the pro-choice position by stating that abortion is permissible if in the early months of pregnancy if it’s in the interest of the family, permissible in the middle months if it would cause harms to the mother, and only justifiable in the late months if the woman was to be saved from death.

In the next corner, we have the pro-life faction, embodied (at least within the assignment) in Don Marquis’ article. Putting it simply, we must not kill the fetus because we will deprive it of a future. Killing inflicts the greatest possible loss on the victim, which are her life and her future (and all the value that may come from that quarter).
The first assumption is that killing the author or the reader is prima facie seriously wrong. Two other theories are drawn to support Don Marquis’ article, that of personhood (as in the reader, author or anyone, including the fetus) and that of sanctity-of-life (which slams active euthanasia, aside from lending support). The theory of future-like-ours combines the strengths of both aforementioned theories and meshes with what makes killing wrong.

The second assumption is that it is prima facie wrong to inflict pain on (again) the author or the reader. The author then tries to draw a parallel with the argument that inflicting wanton pain is wrong on animals (see the first article…So Yeah…) and fetuses, in that the structure is the same and that both are not postnatal human beings.

In the third corner, we have the pro-choice faction with Susan Sherwin’s article. The assumption here is that the fetus is not the only important factor, but the woman bearing the child as well. There has been little mention, if at all, of the woman’s role (other than that of “fetal containers” as the article put it) and most arguments on abortion often revolve around the legal or moral permissibility of the abortion. Non-feminist groups who do support abortion usually end up echoing masculine concepts of freedom, which is usually incompatible with the needs of women.

Women may choose abortion because of any number of factors that may be affecting their lives at the moment. These include socio-economic factors, knowledge that the fetus may come out deformed because of some form of complication/s, or just that it isn’t in her plans to have a baby yet. Whatever the reason, the woman knows best on what to do with the fetus inside her. This also coincides with women’s control of their own sexuality, as her usually subordinate status in society means her being pregnant will force her to depend more on particular men. Women cannot simply avoid getting pregnant by abstinence as sexual politics makes it hard for her to say “no”. Even in this age, sexual coercion is still being done, consciously or not. Birth control is no guarantee either as the cost, effectiveness and peer pressure (“it’s just feels better without a condom”) are constant difficulties.

Current views of the fetus seek to imbue it with personhood and being, nearly ignoring the woman who bears the fetus. Doctors are also given some sort of authority over the woman and they sometimes take it upon themselves to interfere with the woman’s reproductive freedom. The feminist view of the fetus is that it and the woman are intertwined; you cannot consider one without the other. This relational status and limited contributions of the fetus, as a person, grant that the fetus is a unique human entity. It can neither form relationships with other, nor can the vice versa happen. This entails that one cannot do anything to the fetus without it affecting the woman as well.

It follows then that if a woman chooses to see her term of pregnancy through, it is wrong to force abortion on her. Likewise, putting the baby up for adoption is no easy task either for the woman as the psychological and physical bond they have is not easily broken.

The assumptions that personhood is not enough to bear the weight, alone, of abortion is acceptable in that a single criterion used to handle the entire moral debate is over-simplifying the issue. It is more complex than that. The self-defense theory does have its point; risk of death usually limits one’s choices. However, ending a life will deny any possible future that may have arisen had that life been spared. Countless possibilities are erased in an instant and the “wrongness” of also lends strength to the assumption that killing and infliction of pain are seriously wrong. Then again, considering Sherwin’s stance and her assumptions, it is also right to accord the woman her own sexual freedom and rights, more so since she carries the child, it is also, ultimately, her choice which may affect the child. Of course, along with a qualified and client-centered doctor who could assist her with her choice. They and not the greater masses must make the choice, based upon the facts and grounded upon the knowledge of the consequences (I won’t bother to say good or bad) of the decision to be made.
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Estipona [J]

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PostSubject: ANSWER TO QUESTION # 2   Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:41 pm

Of all the questions one can possibly ask with regards to the controversial topic of abortion, it’s interesting to note that rarely do both sides discuss the historical significance of abortion. True, the entire debate about abortion consists mostly of the philospohical arguments about the ideas of both factions, but given that written evidences of the practice already existed by as early as 1500 B.C, I find it curious that no one (or at least, no one from the text I read) attempts to use historical overviews as the establishing point for their respective argument. Ancient civilizations by then had already employed the use of various methods to terminate pregancies: crude ancestors of the modern method of Abortion. Some use herbs, others use various parts of exotic plants and animals. (and for the most part, some of them are not so exotic as we would think) During those periods of time, the idea received minimal or little opposition from their own respective societies. Why then does Abortion generate such controversy when in retrospect, people had incorporated it into their culture even before the concept of the Abortion debate was conceived? It would seem as if at some point in time, the issue generated enough notoriety for it to become one of the most debated topics in the history of highly debatable debates. So much, that in fact, ethical and philosophical distinctions between the pro- and anti- sides have yet to present something that can be considered as the 38th parallel of the two opposing sides. Where then, do I stand in the midst of the metaphorical verbal battlefield? An possible explanation for this can be found by using the method of factorization.

You may recall in your high school math that factoring a number involves breaking the number down into smaller, indivisible prime numbers by using division. (of course) By doing so, a number can be defined by using the simplest of its terms and combining them into one mathematical expresssion. 12, for example, can be seen as 2x2x3, a simple way of viewing the entirety by using the parts that make it up. In the same manner, Abortion could best be understood if we “factor” some of the more basic concepts that contribute to the whole of the idea. Although not everything can be explained in such a linear fashion, it is one of the simplest way to familiarize yourself with a topic that requires a lot of thinking to maneuver around.

First of all, we must establish the concept of Morality. For the record, the abortion debate has its roots in the fundaments of morality. The majority of its arguments stem from a moral deduction, not from political deduction, psychological deduction, and most certainly not a geological deduction. The reason why we must first determine what morality is is because it is a moral debate. Period. Establishing the context is the first step to establishing understanding. Given this prior assumption, How then, do we define morality? Simply put, it is a set of assumptions that determines what is good, and what is evil. Herein lies the complexity of the matter. Good, and Evil, are by nature, contextual constructs. Whether they be developed by moral institutions in society, or cognitive constructs by a single individual, what is good for one may not necessarily be good for the other. In other words, one’s sense of moral justice cannot necessarily coincide with another’s. Therefore, killing a would-be attacker maybe justified in the terms of the victim, but not from the side of, let’s say, a self-proclaimed Quaker. Anti-abortionist groups play heavily on the moral quandary of life, stating that abortion is tantamount to murder, while the pros counter with the argument that fetuses have not yet reached the stage wherein they can be classified as persons, therefore justifying the act. What both sides fail to realize is that, morality, as defined above, is not simply acquired through norms developed by society. Each and every person has his/her own sense of moral justice, and given the contextual nature of morality, good and evil should be defined from the concept of the affected party, and not from universal moral norms. That is not to say that because good and evil is contextual, then the notion itself does not exist because man would then choose what best benefits him, therefore eliminating the need for a universal understanding of good and evil. What I meant was abortion should be justified if the affected party would benefit from the arrangement, depending on the present circumstances. Now this particular statement may raise some issues that deal with the Feminist theory as to what constitutes “benefits” and “cicumstances” For example, would a young female that had pre-marital sex and ended up having a baby be considered one of the considered instances where Abortion is justified? What about a rape victim? Judging from the circumstances, they would each have their own reasons for justifying an abortion. Time and again, women had always been the scapegoat in the aftermath of conception, bearing the burden of child bearing solely on their shoulders. A single mother faced with the prospect of raising a child all by herself, or a battered mother who considers sparing her child from a future of hardship. Abortion had always been viewed as a means of escape for those who think that delivering their baby would otherwise result in less acceptable circumstances; a convenient back-up plan for unwanted pregnancies. Of course, it is assumed that, ulterior motives aside, sometimes an abortion can be beneficial to a mother-to-be, depending on how she views the situation. Hence, self-morality is again the basis for judgement. I sincerely believe that a human being, no matter how pressured he/she is to make a decision by external forces, will ultimately make a decision at some point in time that will follow his/her own sense of moral judgement. In any case, discretion should be left to the woman bearing the fetus, since she represents bears the decision-making capability for the fetus as it technically her own flesh and blood. In my opinion however, abortion should not be something that can be repeatedly used to curtail a life everytime one commits a mistake when it comes to birth control. Though some may argue that in some circumstances, multiple abortions may be possible because of, let’s say, lifestyle choice. (e.g. a prostitute, or in some cases, a mistress) True, their actions may be justified based on their own moral justice, but still, the idea that the practice itself could be avoided by using preliminary birth control methods comes into prominence. They didn’t have to abort the fetus if they’d only had prepared meticulously beforehand, or had taken measures to ensure that a pregnancy would not occur. As a commercial once said, prevention is better than cure. If abortion could be avoided entirely, then it is the responsibilty of both parties to ensure that their sexual act would not escalate into an unwanted pregnancy (assuming that it is unwanted.) As it happens, abortion is more of an excuse nowadays to prepare slipshod methods of birth control, jumping straight to the sex act without considering the complications that such act may imply. In most cases, seldom do the involved parties consider the repercussions of killing an unborn life inside a woman’s womb. For the people who know the consequences of abortion, they know what it feels like to go through the process, even though they may seem ok on the outside, the truth is abortion is a hard act to live with. An article in a magazine once asserted that women feel an “unexplainable” loss whenever they had to abort a fetus in them. That is because the fetus is already part of their existence, a life that they brought to life by sharing their own living essence. (and this is where the Personhood debates come in, which adds up to another paragraph of discussion if included here)

Remember the earlier premise about factorization? About how you can understand a given topic by breaking it down into concepts? Well, if you add all the concepts together, they would still relate to one central topic, correct? 2x2x3 will always be equal to 12, hence the endpoint of all these philosophical discussions about the various aspects of Abortion will still end up talking about Abortion itself, no matter how far off the discussion on personhood will lead. If you think about it, the reason why they had, or rather, have to justify all those other arguments is because of general consensus. Both sides feel that in order to prove that they are right, they must prove the truth of the conditions first. All the diverse arguments aside, whether it be about Morality, Personhood, Rights, Women’s Responsibility or such, the real issue here is not on its rational and logical basis, but for what purpose it is used. The ongoing debate on its moral and ethical implications serves to detract us from the fact that all things in our existence serve a purpose. The Death Sentence, immoral as it may seem according to some, serves as a reminder to criminals that crime does pay. Or even the simple act of disciplining a child when he/she did wrong illustrates the idea that even the things that may seem unjustified for some has its reasons for remaining in existence. The real problem is that people misinterpret the intended purpose of such acts, leading to confusion as to whether such a method is good or bad. Spanking, for instance, has been viewed as a form of corporal punishment by children’s rights advocates, which is why they push for its abolition in the process of child rearing. Yet ironically, America, who has professed to have outlawed (literally) spanking in their country for the sake of children’s rights, experiences a lot more problems involving children than in countries that support spanking. That is because they do not understand that sometimes you must use pain to teach the child not to do something that would be harmful to him in the future. It could be considered unjust, but necessary, an act with a purpose. Such is the same for abortion. The common misconception is that it could be used as something that can cover up for the mistake of the past, which, considering most cases where abortion is considered, should not be the case. Abortion should only be reserved for those cases wherein the woman’s condition could revert into a dire situation (although some debate-hungry people may contest as to what constitutes “dire”). In any case, blaming the moral quandary on the practice is like blaming a kitchen knife for a murder. A knife exists to be used in the kitchen, like its namesake; it just so happens that people found another use for it other than chopping cabbages. Abortion, inhuman, or illogical though as it may seem, also serves a purpose in our existence. It is part of the fact of life, and the rationale that the current anti-abortionist groups portrays seem inadequate at best when contesting the existence of abortion. As someone once said, “a thing is only as evil as the person who uses it for evil.” A knife, when used to slaughter people, can be considered as deleterious to our existence. But when used to chop food for easy consumption, then it becomes beneficial. Such is the same for the act of abortion, the people’s own morality is the judge whether they would use it to destroy, or to bring life.
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De Vera, Rosemarie

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PostSubject: My Stand on Abortion   Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:14 pm

In making a stand on the issue of abortion, there are three options: one is to support abortion, the other is against it, and the last is the freedom of choice whether an individual wants abortion or not.

I am not for pro-abortion mainly because I do not intend to support all kinds of abortion of any situation. Being among pro-abortionists would mean for me that even abortions for no important reasons are alright with me, which I am not in favor of. In the first place, I personally believe that fetuses have value and should also be treated and be considered as like any human being.

I am also not against abortion because it would also mean for me that I do not want abortion in any instance. I know for a fact that there are cases that need abortion because of the harm that the pregnancy might bring, not only for the fetus but also for the pregnant woman.

I cannot say that I am pro or anti-abortion, but rather I am pro-choice.

This essay explains my side of being a pro-choice not by using the status of the fetus as a person or any abstract term but through a more feminist approach on the relationship between the pregnant woman and the developing fetus and considering the possible effects on both subjects. From Jane English’s essay, deciding on the issue of abortion based on the status of the fetus as a person is difficult because there are no clear agreement regarding it, and by using a more feminist approach on this matter, as presented in the essays of Sally Markowitz and Susan Sherwin, brings more convenience in providing better answers for me because it deals with actual concerns.

To have (induced) abortion is more of a matter of choice for me. It is a decision to make and not whether one should have abortion or not. If a pregnant woman wants to have or not have the baby, then let her on what she wants because it is her right. She has the autonomy over her body and no one else is responsible for her own self, with whatever consequence it will have after. Regarding the fetus, although it is another entity inside a woman’s womb, during its development, it is still part of the woman that greatly depends on her. Again, has the autonomy including the fetus inside her womb.

Every pregnant woman has a right to have an abortion because it is her right “to manage” the right of the child of life. She also has the right to determine what happens to her body, a right to equal treatment and a right to self determination.

Abortion is also permissible in my view in the case of unwanted pregnancy if she does not really want to have a child, not ready, and/or a difficulty in her career for instance. I do not mean to say that if one gets pregnant unexpectedly because of, for example, rape, then automatically she should have abortion. It of course depends on the pregnant woman if she will abort the fetus or not. Some counseling may help if she is not sure of what to do. But if the condition is that it brings no good for her and thinks that it is better to abort it, and then let her do it. No one should force her to continue the pregnancy because it deprives her of her right to autonomy. And if a woman gave birth to a child because she is only forced to do it, the worse scene is the mother may not give the proper love and care and might result to abusing the child. I believe that every child should have a loving home where they are wanted and valued.

Others argue that those who want to abort their soon-to-be child should continue their pregnancy and should not worry after giving birth because adoption is an answer. However, this is not an assurance that the would-be child will definitely be adopted even if the infant was born healthy or not. And having their own baby to be adopted is far more difficult than having abortion because there had been longer connection between the mother and the child. The length of time of pregnancy creates an attachment of the mother to the child. Is it a psychological way to make mothers feel sorry or unexpectedly create love for the child? I do not know.

On a more personal point of view, if I will be pregnant unexpectedly, I am convinced that I will not have abortion because I believe that it is a gift from God and it is my choice to take care of that blessing. What I am saying is, each one of us can decide, and must decide on our own lives. Several factors affect our decision including the people around us, our values in life, and religion. But still, your life is your life, and my life is mine. No one else is responsible to our actions except our own selves. Sometimes being practical gives better outcome than surrender to your principles.
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PostSubject: For Question #3   Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:08 pm

The series of Abortion-related articles in Chapter 2 of “Contemporary Moral Issues in a Diverse Society”, offer interesting stands concerning the issue. It ranges from the often heard to the least popular among all the diverse stands in the controversy. Most of the writers are women and many of the articles have feminist inclinations yet the diversity of the points and assertions were not sacrificed.

There are three major questions by which the writers generally try to dwell on. First and foremost is if abortion is morally permissible or morally wrong. Second, if it is morally wrong, what are other moral concerns that may supersede that moral claim? Third, what is the moral status of the fetus? Answering the third almost often leads to the justification of the answer to the first question.

Anti-abortionist articles refer to different assumptions in order to justify their stand. The first article written by Jane English asserts the independence of the issue of abortion to the personhood of the fetus. It is in her view that the fetus may or may not be characterized by the different features of a human especially in the first weeks or months after conception. This vagueness in the personhood of the fetus makes it a less reliable criterion for claiming whether abortion is morally permissible or not. She also points out the self-defense model as a perspective in looking at the issue. The self-defense model by Thomson stresses that it supports the right of the woman to be freed from the threat of a fetus during a difficult pregnancy but not the “right to demand its death.” The self-defense model, thus, only supports abortion if the pregnancy is in direct threat of the woman’s life. English also discussed the considerations we give to non-persons in our moral code. The likeness of a non-person to the physical, emotional and social characteristics of a person makes it unbearable for us to inflict suffering, pain or death to that being even if we do not consider as at the same level of being with us. This, she explains, extends to the claim that abortion is only morally permissible if the fetus is in its early stages rather than in the late stages of pregnancy where the likeness of the fetus to a human is most manifested.

Laura Hershey’s “Choosing Disability” gives a unique perspective in the abortion controversy. She points to the advancement in technology regarding prenatal screening where pregnant women are given the chance to know if the fetus has any irregularities or defects to the growing number of women who opt to abort fetuses with high probability of being disabled. Abortion, she said is not a solution to the fear of the society to accept people with disabilities as part of the community. The most immediate solution is giving them with more accessibility and opportunity to be productive in society. She outlined a number of premises for this conclusion. First is that people with disabilities, if guided well, most often become independent and able to live their lives without constant assistance. Second, in prenatal screening, most often only give probabilities of the fetus having defects. Nobody really knows for sure.

Don Marquis, asserts that the immorality of abortion lies on the future-like-ours account. He developed this justification for the immorality of abortion through a number of premises. First, it is wrong to kill us. It is wrong to kill us because are deprived of a valuable future. Therefore fetuses, also having a valuable future, are included in this. Therefore, it is immoral to kill fetuses. He compared the fut ure-like-ours account with the desire and continuation account and found it superior compared to the two due to a number of consequences. In one of examples, he cited that the account has sufficient but not necessary condition for the wrongness of killing. However, it is problematic since he did define what is a “valuable future.” Also, by saying “future-like-ours” he counts aside those with a different future say down syndrome who clearly does not have a future like him. Another statement of his also caused confusion when he said that this account is strongest when the fetus is at late stage of pregnancy where it is clearly an individual. This contradicts his statement that his assumption are independent from the state of the fetus.

The strong feminist writers do not concern themselves with the fetus but rather its relationship with the mother. Feminists agree that women are sexually oppressed to fulfill their obligations to the fetus and the society, sacrificing the things that they value more. One writer asserts that women are helpless and being pregnant or motherhood is a form of enslavement. She said that women should have the choice of abortion if pregnancy comes second to other values in the priorities. If pregnancy can aggravate their present living than they can terminate it. They do not assert however that the fetus is of no value but instead it may come second to other values that the woman perceives as more important.
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PostSubject: third question   Mon Nov 24, 2008 11:43 pm

I believe that abortion has been an issue of morality since time immemorial. The issue is becoming bigger and bigger for it attracts many parties to establish a stand. However, establishing a stand is not that easy for one has to evaluate the validity of the assumptions of every inference.

In her article, “Abortion and the Concept of a Person”, Jane English presented Thomson’s argument regarding abortion. She infers that “killing a fetus is always wrong” since “fetus is an innocent person and killing an innocent person is always wrong”. In order to examine the validity of this inference, it is necessary to look for consistency, justification, plausibility and usefulness. In looking for justification, it is necessary to check for the truthfulness of the premises. The premise, “killing an innocent person is always wrong” is not necessarily true in all cases as what is mentioned in the article. Jane English states that “killing an innocent person is sometimes permissible, most notably in self-defense”. This counter-argument accounts for the examination of the plausibility of the inference. In this assertion, a moral theory (i.e. natural law) which holds that it is always wrong to take innocent human life interferes in the validity of the claim. But one may believe that such action is not immoral and an act of self-defense as what Jane English argues. This conflict does not necessarily invalidate the claim. However, this conflict alerts that something is wrong in the inference which may impose invalidity. The question of inconsistency may be answered through looking for incoherence within an inference. In this inference, the inconsistency is subtle because as what is mentioned, killing can be sometimes permissible that is not coherent with its assumptions.

In addition, the same criteria and judgment apply to another inference presented by Jane English. She argues that “killing a fetus is permissible” since “fetus is not a full-fledged person” and “it is permissible to threat it in any way”. This inference is not justified because the premises are not necessarily true in all cases. The author believes that non-persons like animals get some considerations in our moral code and we cannot just treat them in any way.

Other inferences are made in the article, “Why Abortion is Immoral” by Don Marquis. His major inference is “abortion is morally impermissible” since “killing an adult is immoral because that would deprive that person of a future, fetuses have the same moral status or moral standing as do adult persons and killing a fetus will deprive him/her of a future. The validity of this inference is defended by the truthfulness of its assumptions/premises. It is justified because, for example, it is true in all cases that one’s future is loss if one is already dead. In the question of its plausibility, the assertion does not provide conflict with other moral theory like the natural law. Also, I believe that killing really deprives someone of a future which makes the assumption true for my case. However, conflict may arise in the moral beliefs of the feminists for they may argue that not killing the fetus may impose threat to the value of women’s future. This counter-argument of feminists reflects their non-approval to the assumptions of the inference. Nevertheless, the inference made by Marquis is good to note for it avoids equivocations on ‘human life, ‘human being’ or ‘person’. It also avoids the fallacies of too broad or too narrow scope of the assumptions. In view of the usefulness of the inference, one can say that it somehow provide resolution to the conflict regarding killing an adult as synonymous with killing a fetus for it establishes a visible similarity between the two. As for consistency, the inference made by the author is practically coherent with its assumptions.

The same explanations go with the inference, “killing someone is wrong because the killing inflicts the greatest possible losses on the victim” since “the loss of one’s life is one of the greatest losses one can suffer and the loss of one’s life deprives one of all the experiences, activities, projects and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one’s future”. This argument is morally sound that contributed to its validity.

In the article, “Feminist Analyses of Women and Abortion”, Susan Sherwin asserts that “women have rights to continue or to terminate pregnancies as each sees fit” since “women are entitled to reproductive freedom which able them to make voluntary choices about their reproductive lives, fetuses exist within women’s pregnancies and is wholly dependent on the woman who sustains it and fetuses are part of women’s reproductive lives”. This inference is not fully justified for its assumptions are not necessarily true in all cases. The concept of reproductive freedom may be true only to feminists who advocate women’s rights. Also, the assumptions just focus on the rights of the women and disregard the rights of the unborn fetus. In addition, this inference poses conflict to some moral principles like the natural law in killing innocent persons. Furthermore, this assertion is not useful in all cases for it will only justify the demands of the feminists and not of non-feminists.

I believe that the issue of abortion will not be settled because the assumptions and inferences made by different parties are just clashing with each other. As I have read the articles, my stand regarding abortion became stronger. I am pro-abortion and pro-choice, not in the sense that I am anti-life. My opinion is solely based on my beliefs and I don’t condemn those who are anti-abortion. I believe that it is an every woman's right to her life that gives her the right to terminate her pregnancy. In view of this, I am not saying that a fetus has no rights but basically these rights are inferior to the rights of the women. I stand for my belief that if abortion is not a choice, many women will suffer and world population will increase very rapidly. I am not saying that my assumptions are valid in all cases but it support my stand.
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PostSubject: stand on abortion   Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:38 am

Stand on Abortion

Every time one makes a choice it is vital that he lays out all the possible consequences of his choice and the other alternatives as well. Down from everyday decisions one has to make and even more importantly the bills or laws to be passed must be weighed with their respective outcomes to the people and to the public. Recently, many forums have been held discussing various bills that are to be made into laws by the government and one of the most controversial would be that of the Reproductive Health Bill which has caught too much attention from the civil society and the clergymen. Assuming that everyone knows of the bill – especially that it touches the issue of abortion, a very important part of it is the defining of key concepts which most of the time is subjected to debates by different parties. It is in the use of terms in a particular bill that gives it its scope and limitations.
As what has been said in the set of readings, the debate over the moral permissibility of abortion has been an issue since time immemorial and many groups have emerged to defend their side. I take my stand as pro-abortion and pro-choice but it does not necessarily follow that I am anti-life. There are many positions regarding the issue and the most familiar to the public are that of the conservative anti-abortionists and the liberals. Abortion has always dwelt on the major question of the status of the fetus. According to the anti-abortionists, life is now available inside the mother’s womb from the moment of conception and that it is murder to take away that life forcefully. However, it is essential that certain concepts must be given particular distinctions from how the other party has used it. Being on the pro-abortion and pro-choice side of the fence I define “life” not from the moment of conception. Yes, it is a matter of biology but life for me begins when this mass of cells now take the form of a human being meaning the organs are now developed including its fingers, arms, legs and parts of the body that now makes it capable for living. What many advocates of anti-abortion believe is that the act itself is immoral and unethical for life is terminated from a being that is soon to become a person and has a future to live and to experience. A human being is different from a person in the sense that a human can already be found inside the womb but it only becomes a person when it has now the features of biological, social, psychological, rational and legal factors.
The number one pro-life sector of the society would be those belonging to the Christian church. They deem abortion as moral sin and that no other person can take away the life of another. I see this reasoning as very narrow and not updated to the changes of time. There are many exceptions why a woman has the choice of aborting the fetus inside her womb. It is true that many of these anti-abortionists group only consider the moral and legal basis of the issue but neglects to see the health of the woman or even the baby involved. I do not see it heroic when a woman chose to keep the baby despite all the pressure from the society that from the first place she should have aborted it. Women have the right to make decisions on their own especially when it concerns their health and their future. It is never enough that a baby must only be born. Yes, it might be his right to life but what kind of life is it when the mother cannot provide her even with the most basic necessities that would make him live to have a quality life in the future? Quality life meaning having been provided with his needs in order to develop into a potentially successful person in the following years of his life.
It is high time to liberate the minds of people on this issue of morality. The permissibility of abortion must not be a question of ethics or morality any longer especially if the woman has reasons that would endanger her life or suffer conditions that would be brought about by her giving birth. It remains her choice and whatever is the outcome of that decision then it is her that it responsible for it. Abortion must only be stopped on the condition that all the pregnant women out there can assure that life she will have to give her child is the life that he deserves without risking her own.
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PostSubject: Question # 3   Tue Nov 25, 2008 3:22 am

The moral claims made in the articles featured in the Chapter of Abortion found in the “Contemporary Moral Issues in a Diverse Society” can be summarized as follows: The moral status of the fetus or its personhood cannot be a justification for immorality and moral permissibility of abortion. Second, the self-defense model and the future-like-ours account can be used to justify the immorality of abortion, yet there are circumstances wherein it is justified to have an abortion. Third, disability is not a reason for aborting a pregnancy. Lastly, pro-choice feminists focus on the rights of women to justify moral permissibility of abortion.

A number of articles in the text assert that establishing the moral status or personhood of the fetus is a troublesome task and is not an adequate premise for the moral controversies of abortion. The first and third articles try to justify this claim. Jane English said there is a lack for a precise list of criteria that can be said as necessary in defining personhood. We only have characteristics that come with typical cases. A fetus, therefore, may or may not fall under any of the categories since a fetus is definitely not a typical case. This is also the same for Don Marquis. He said there is definite disagreement on what characteristics do describe what a person is. Therefore, we cannot say definitely what the status of a fetus is.

Another moral claim in the articles is there are some models or accounts that can explain the wrongness of abortion. The self-defense model by Thomson, originally used in defense of abortion can be used to justify the wrongness of abortion. In the self-defense model it is sometimes permissible to kill an innocent person if it poses a threat. However, self defense seeks nothing more than to neutralize or incapacitate the threat. Next, it also suggests that the severity of harm that would be inflicted to the person should not be greater than the harm it poses. It is also the premise that self defense does not wish for the death of a person rather to be freed from the harm. Therefore, a fetus, given as an innocent being in the womb, should only be killed if it imposes grave threat to the mother that the only option is abortion. Coherence of attitudes is also cited as a reason why for the most of people, abortion is unbearable. The fetus, by resembling much of a live human’s physical characteristics is given the same moral sentiments as a human being is. The attitude we give towards human being is transferred to the fetus through its similarities to ours. Therefore, we find it rather hard to commit abortion, especially in the late months of pregnancy and it would morally wrong to do otherwise.

Another justification for the immorality of abortion is presented by the future-like-ours account. This account rests on the assumption that killing is morally wrong because by killing, we deprive the person of experiences, activities and opportunities that it can achieve in the future. Therefore, killing a fetus is morally wrong because it has a valuable future and depriving the fetus from such a future would be wrong. What makes this argument strong is that there is no need to establish the personhood of the fetus. The theory of future-like-ours embraces the fact that even non-humans have valuable futures. However, it is not without flaws. The future-like-ours account becomes problematic when we try to define what kind of future is worth keeping. Considering what a valuable future is may be subjective from person to person and most importantly from mother- to- mother.

The article “Choosing Disability” by Laura Hershey, emphasizes on the fact disability should not be a reason for opting for abortion. The first premise that she mentioned, disability does not impose a burden to society since they can be trained to live independently. Next, eliminating disabilities through abortion is a rather drastic measure when compared to improving accessibility and opportunities for the disabled.

Unlike non-feminist accounts, feminists uphold the rights of women when it comes to choices made concerning abortion. Most non-feminist accounts focus on the fetus to the point of isolating it from the mother. Feminists, on the other hand, focus on women as full moral agents responsible for actions toward her body. If the woman perceives that pregnancy interferes with her normal way of living and it compromises other responsibilities that she has to attend to, then she should have the choice of being able to undergo abortion. However, feminists suffer from the same problem that they see in the non-feminists. They concentrate too much on the rights of women that they forget about the fetus. Although they claim that the fetus is relational they try to shun it when it comes to the decision of abortion. In trying to empower women, they degrade women’s intelligence in the present. By portraying that women are generally oppressed, especially when it comes to her sexuality degrades the intelligence of women in making decisions of her own. It is like saying that since the dawn of time, women have been induced to do what they have been doing to their reproductive life without input nor control of it.
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PostSubject: for Q#2   Tue Nov 25, 2008 4:34 am

My stand would be Pro-life. it is in our culture that we value life even of the unborn fetus and I believe in the preservation and continuation of life. But to further understand Pro-Lifers i would define what is Pro-Life as opposed to Pro-Choice. I will also include the definition for Abortion and Human life.

Abortion will be defined as the "purposeful termination of pregnancy with intention other than to produce a live born infant or to remove a dead fetus."
Human life will be "any living cell or collection of living cells that contains DNA from the species homo sapiens." This includes an ovum, a spermatozoon, zygote, embryo, fetus, newborn. It also includes an infant, child, adult, elder. It also includes a breast cancer cell, a living hair follicle, and a recent skin scraping.
Pro-Life giving strong velue to the preservation and continuation of life while Pro-Choice will be that of giving the mother the decision on whether she will or will not continue her pregnancy and resort to abortion.
Life refers to anything that is alive: animal, vegetable, and (at least for some followers of Aboriginal, Earth-centered, and other religions) even mineral.

When is Abortion ok?
  • Some say that only very early abortions are morally acceptable.
    Some say that only abortions during the first trimester are OK.
    Some say that an abortion before the fetus becomes viable is OK.
    Some say that a woman should be able to choose an abortion up to the time that the fetus is born.
    One radical world-class ethicist, Peter Singer, has received a great deal of attention by recommending infanticide of some disabled newborns. He suggested that: "...some infants with severe disabilities should be killed" if the parents so choose. His reasoning is that they have diminished likelihood of enjoying an adequate "quality of life
." (
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PostSubject: Arvin's answer to Question #3   Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:55 am

To determine whether inferences made on the issue of abortion is valid or not, it is important to note that a deductive argument is valid when its premises, if true, do provide conclusive grounds for the truth of its conclusion.

One of the inferences made is the assertion of the conservatives that killing a fetus is always wrong. The basis of such deduction is from the premises that killing is wrong, a general knowledge, and that a fetus is an innocent person. The inference is valid since it satisfies the consideration of a valid deductive argument that the premises are true, thus the conclusion follows to be true. The truth value of the premises and conclusion was assumed, adopting the belief of anti-abortionists on such claims; because pro-abortionists might say that the arguments are false making the deductions of anti-abortionists invalid. This way of analysis will also be used on the part of pro-abortionists.

On the part of the pro-abortionists, they have asserted that abortion is justifiable in many cases. First, a fetus is not a person since according to Michael Tooley, the significant characteristics of a person are acquired some time after birth and second, when the fetus poses serious threats on the part of the mother. The self defense model strengthens the claim as abortion is permissible if it is required to save the life of the mother. The deduction is sound as the truth values of the following premises are true and thus its conclusion is true, following the assumptions of pro-abortionists.

Nevertheless, some assertion may be valid or justified not until contradictions within such assertion arise. For instance, the pro-choicer will argue that fetuses are not persons nor rational agents nor social beings, thus abortion is not a wrongful killing. Pro-choicer defined a person as a psychological being capable for having duties and behaves morally. Feinberg, a pro-choicer, also suggested that having rights, which entails consciousness or rationality makes a being a person. To illustrate;

psychological being-->duties-->behaves morally-->PERSON<--conscious<--have rights

However, on the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court (case of Karen Ann Quinlan), tells that even severely retarded and temporarily unconscious being have rights. If such is the case, then it makes a place for the fetuses too, that though unconscious, still, they have rights making them a person. This notion then contradicts the main assertion of the pro-choice.

On the other hand, inconsistencies were also seen within the claims of anti-abortionists on the theory of sanctity of life. They claimed that it is prima facie seriously wrong to kill any human being because of the loss of his or her future or what they called “a future-like-ours” argument. What makes this argument more plausible are the two rival accounts—the desire and the discontinuation accounts—that will later on contradict the anti-abortionists' claim. Desire account suggests that “what makes killing wrong is that it interferes with the fulfillment of a strong and fundamental individual might have.” Then this account moves from the claim that what makes killing wrong is the interference with a very strong desire to the claim that abortion is not wrong because the fetus lacks a strong desire to live.

Meanwhile, from the premise that people value the experience of living and wish for that valuable experience to continue, it might be said that what makes killing wrong is the discontinuation of that experience for an individual, thus termed, the discontinuation account. However, if it is the continuation of one's activities, experiences, and projects, the loss of which makes killing wrong, then in contrary to the main assertion of the anti-abortionists, it is not wrong to kill fetuses for that reason; because fetuses do not have significant experiences, activities, and projects to be continued or discontinued.●●●
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PostSubject: answer to Q#1   Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:02 am

Abortion has been widely discussed not only by legal and constitutional disputes, but more precisely by moral debates. Philosophers have put their emphasis on the status of the fetus that after it has been established, moral judgments would come into place. The different moral and normative meanings of the term person have been given an importance. Not only the fetus must be given such importance but also the pregnant woman who suffers more from a lot of discrimination and oppression.

Jane English, who was a professor at the University of Carolina, in her essay: “Abortion and the Concept of a Person”, argued that the problem on the issue of abortion could not be fixed by only studying the “personhood status of the fetus” because the concept of a person is not particular enough for us to be able to draw a line on the permissibility of abortion. She also has other assumptions and arguments regarding the concept of personhood. Don Marquis, on “Why Abortion is Immoral”, believed that fetuses have the same moral status or moral standing as do adult persons, and the finding that there is a strong presumption that any abortion is morally impermissible is supported by the same reason that makes an adult immoral. His proponents included Joel Feinberg, Michael Tooley, Mary Anne Warren, Tristan Engelhardt Jr., L.W. Summer, John Noonan Jr., and Philip Divine. Susan Sherwin’s “Feminist Analyses of Women and Abortion” gave relative interest in analyzing the interests and experiences of women when it comes to the issue of abortion.

Pro-life advocates are examples of those conservatives who believe that the human life begins at conception. By that, performing abortion would let you be branded as someone who is immoral. They also support their claims by explaining how well the fetuses look like the babies and also their possession of a genetic code which is necessary for all human beings. Killing the life inside a woman’s womb is incontestably illustrating immorality.

Pro-abortion advocates are those liberals who firmly believe that human life begins at birth. For them, killing someone who is not yet considered a human being is just a simple act without taking into consideration other relevantly negative externalities of agreeing in killing it. Some philosophical thinkers consider factors such as the biological, psychological, legal, rationality and social factors in order to accept a fetus as a human being.

Pro-choice is neither purely opposing to abortion nor purely supporting the conservative thought. Pro-choice wanted to find a moral principle concerning the wrongness of killing at the same time considering the assumption that fetuses have the same moral status or moral standing as do adult persons possess. Women, especially in feminist ethics, were given more importance and privilege to have an option on whether they will kill or keep their fetuses. They should be known as having full control over their own reproductive lives. Oppression on women, economic deprivation and other concerns were maybe few of the reasons why women can ever consider killing the fetus during her pregnancy.

The arguments formed and the conclusions reached were sufficiently able to support each other’s claims and premises. It will only be more realistic, acceptable and practical if concrete examples were given. Examples given within each point and issue would make the distinction among the three positions on abortion more dependable and sensible and it will be better if such examples were up-to-date and relevant to a particular condition of abortion.
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PostSubject: #01   Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:27 am

The issue of abortion, though not that new, is still of great debate. Three positions are then presented: pro-choice, pro-life, and pro-abortion. I would like to present first the assumptions before giving my insights and discussing their acceptability. The different assumptions that have been presented are as follows:

In Jane English’s article entitled “Abortion and the Concept of a Person”, she cited Mary Anne Warren who listed five features as her criteria for personhood and argues for the permissibility of abortion because a fetus falls outside this concept. According to Liberals, since a fetus does not become a person until its birth, a woman may do whatever she pleases in and to her own body. English also stated in her article that abortion is justifiable early in pregnancy to avoid modest harms and seldom justifiable late in pregnancy except to avoid significant injury or death.

On the other hand, conservatives maintain that human life begins at conception and that therefore abortion must be wrong because it is murder. This assumption is further discussed by Don Marquis in his article “Why Abortion is Immoral.” Moreover, they also hold that abstinence is the only acceptable way to avoid pregnancy. Pro-life advocates point out to the similarities between a fetus and a baby and evoke our emotional attachment to and sympathy for the fetus. They view women who carry these fetal individuals as passive hosts whose only significant role is to refrain from aborting or harming their fetuses. Some physicians have even joined anti-abortion campaigners in fostering a cultural acceptance of the view that fetuses are distinct individuals who are physically, ontologically, and socially separate from the women whose bodies they inhabit and that they have their own distinct interests.

In the feminists’ point of view, the pregnant woman is the subject of principal concern in abortion decisions. They believe that women have abortions for a wide variety of compelling reasons; that the women concerned are in best position to judge whether abortion is the appropriate response to a pregnancy. They also state that women cannot rely on birth control to avoid pregnancy.

Given these assumptions, I agree with Jane English and with everyone else here that we cannot settle the issue of abortion with our concept of personhood. These assumptions are not without flaws – and this issue as I have said cannot be easily settled. I for one agree with the feminists’ view that abortion depends on women’s decisions. Susan Sherwin in “Feminist Analyses of Women and Abortion” presented reasonable statements on why women’s decisions should be respected in cases of abortion. In sum, these assumptions given by various academics are well supported by their examples; thus, whatever stand we make, we should somehow look for equal rights between the pregnant women and the fetus.
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PostSubject: answer to quetion #1   Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:44 am

Central to the moral issue on abortion are the pro-life and pro-choice arguments. The abortion debate includes a pile of loaded buzzword. Pro-abortion currently are used synonymously with pro-choice, leading several people believe that they are two different labels for the same thing. However, the construct is an attempt to frame the issue to demonize the right of women to terminate the pregnancy. The aim is intended to portray pro-choice activists in a more negative connotation.

The pro-life advocates claim and assert that human life begins during the conception. Persons are created in the image and likeness of God is the essence of humanness. Therefore, the unborn child is also created in the image of God and therefore fully human in God’s sight. The fetus is considered as a separate person and henceforth subject to the same rights of a mature human being. To the conservatives, since life begins at conception, abortion is akin to murder of an innocent and defenseless human being. It is an unforgivable moral sin. For them, “What right do humans have to curtail the life of something that Divine Providence has created?” Children are seen as gifts from God. Literally and figuratively, abortion deprived life opportunities and experiences from the unborn child; thus, an act of violence. The act goes against the norm of the society and the belief of the sanctity of life.

Principles behind the pro-life argument are clearly dogmatically grounded on faith. Pro-life advocates failed to consider the difference of the concept of personhood from human life. There is no clear-cut delineation provided wherein the personhood starts. Actually, the unborn child do not fully resembles a human being during the early stages of the prenatal development. The fundamental right to life is of utmost importance above everything else. However, the pro-life argument glosses over the fact of life without consideration of the quality of life. What kind of life will the unborn child lead? It is satisfactory enough. What does satisfactory means? Will he be able to eat three times a day? Or will he suffer from hunger and poverty like millions of people around the globe?

Pro-Choice argument was able to integrate these elements into one. This is the stand of the feminist movement throughout the globe. Pro-Choice is about bodily integrity and autonomy giving woman the right and the freedom to decide on what’s best for their body given conditions. With the pro-choice view, the focus in upon the woman and not the unborn child in her womb; thus, giving importance on their roles as a productive labor force. Thus, in the end, the woman will be able to realize her full potential as an economic and political actor.

Personhood starts at birth. All abortions are done during in the first trimester of the prenatal development wherein the fetus cannot exist independently from the mother’s body. Therefore, it can be considered part of the mother’s body and not an individual entity. Its whole being, its health and status are dependent upon the mother’s health through the connection in the umbilical cord and the placenta. The limitations of the pregnancy and the expectations of the society are directed on the mother.

A pregnancy to a woman is perhaps the most determinative aspects of her life. It disrupts her body. It disrupts her education. It disrupts her employment. And it often disrupts her entire family life. In this decision, the US Supreme Court in the landmark case of Roe v Wade clearly supported woman’s right to abortion under certain conditions, giving a choice to the ‘unwilling to bear the unwanted’. In pregnancy, there are two living humans involved: the unborn child and the mother. The ideal is to save them both. However, abortion may be necessary to avoid serious danger to the mother’s physical and mental health. The ability of the woman to control her body is critical to her civil rights and liberties. In the end, the decision represents the woman’s freedom and right of choices.

The pro-choice argument unlike the pro-life was able to embed the abortion debate in a dynamic political and economic society. The problem is not only constricted in the individual level, the so-called micro level but also transcends into the macro-level concerning the institutional arrangements in the society. Everything, directly and indirectly, translates into the responsibility of the government in administering, regulating and allocating resources toward a society that is equal, just and free.
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PostSubject: numero tres   Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:38 am

Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, there have been constant campaigns that threaten women decisions governing their bodies and they have been partially successful.
Meanwhile, some stands projected on the issue of abortion are that in the context of conservative’s way of looking at abortion and that on the liberal side of assessing it. For the conservatives, they firmly believe that pregnancy termination of a fetus which is said to be as a person is a crime, it is a form of murder. The basis of the conclusion resides with the notion that human life starts at conception, thus, if fetus is a person, some abortions are permissible in self-defense against innocent threats to mother's well-being, life prospects, or mental or physical health. While the liberals must say that the decision to abort is a matter of personal choice, but it is not an easily or casually made decision. The claim provides the notion that life begins simply at birth. Yet, it seems that if fetus is not a person, coherence of our moral sentiments and attitudes would require that we give moral consideration to person-like beings. In the latest stages of pregnancy, abortion is psychologically similar to murder. Ergo, the stand of pro-choice seems invalid.
On the other side, like the other authors, Marquis does not rest his argument on the claim that the fetus is a person. The main claim of his work was that what makes the killing of an adult human being wrong is the loss of his or her future. Here a fetus has a future as valuable as the future of an adult human being. Ergo, killing a fetus is as wrong as killing an adult human being.
Abortion is not considered an everyday kind of occurrence for most women; it may be an unpleasant and frequently painful experience. Few women view an abortion as anything but a difficult and necessary alternative to an unintended pregnancy. It is not a method of contraception. Ergo, the issue is not that abortion may take place of sensible contraception but that it is a backup method to contraceptive failure that provides a way out of an untenable situation.
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PostSubject: no.3   Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:32 pm

Along with the issue of abortion come numerous assertions and claims from a variety of people like statesmen, philosophers and feminists. Their roles in society play an important aspect in determining what becomes of the people in a country. And with their stands regarding abortion, they share their ideas to the people how personhood affects the issue of abortion, whether personhood begins at conception or at birth, and whether personhood is valid as basis for determining the permissibility of abortion in the first place. They would also tell us when it is that the fetus possesses a certain value, and how much that value is. But are these claims valid?

The article by Jane English asserts the obscurity of using personhood as basis to consider the permissibility of abortion. This is due to the groups of people proposing various criteria to determine what is typical of a person. With these criteria, anti-abortionists propose criteria which would satisfy the personhood of fetuses, while pro-abortionists use criteria which fetuses lack. Jane English asserts that a person is basically a cluster of features, of which a single criterion, of Tooley for example, is only a part. There has not been a list of criteria proposed which precisely describes what a person is. For these reasons, it is justifiable that personhood is in fact inadequate in concluding the abortion issue.

To further strengthen her first assertion, Jane English tests whether personhood has its value in determining the permissibility of abortion. She argues that supposing a fetus is an innocent person, it is therefore always wrong to kill a fetus. But is it always wrong to kill an innocent person? She argues that this is actually permissible and is much clearly exemplified through self-defense. If you are being attacked by a person, regardless of his innocence, you are given the right kill the attacker and save yourself from threat. It does not always follow that when a person attacks you, killing him/her is the only option. Injury to the attacker depends on the injury to be avoided and should not be enormously greater than the injury to be avoided.

The case is the same for pregnant women. If a fetus poses a threat which endangers the life of the mother, then she may kill the fetus even if it is innocent. But if the fetus only threatens the interests of the mother, career for example, then that does not justify abortion.

Supposing that a fetus is not a person, abortion would not always be morally permissible. Animals get some rights in the community and enjoy these considerations. Torture of animals is prohibited; some even think it’s wrong to make use of animals in laboratory experiments, especially when pain and suffering are involved considering results in these experiments may prove valuable to us humans. Even if a fetus is not human, abortion is still not justifiable. Abortion would only be justifiable when continuation of the pregnancy poses threats to the health of the mother.

According to Jane English, what plays an important factor in determining whether abortion is justifiable regardless if the fetus is considered a person or not, are the psychological facts –people perceive physical similarities of a fetus to a baby. With this, she argues that abortion cannot be identified as murder during the first few stages of conception wherein the fetus still lacks characteristics of a human being, but she also added that this changes in the latter stages of conception during the development of the head and the limbs. Therefore, Jane English considers abortion justifiable only during the beginning stage of conception or when pregnancy poses severe threats to the health of the mother.

The assertion of Jane English, particularly the justifiability of abortion during the first stages of conception can be invalidated by Don Marquis’s account on the future-like-ours. The assertion made by Don Marquis highlights the value of the future of nonhumans with the claim that nonhumans also have their own future and that it is wrong to kill them. Simply put, the fetus, supposing its nonhuman, during its first stages of development has its future. Unless the future of that fetus does not threaten the future of the mother, particularly health, it would be wrong to kill the fetus. If we would establish that the fetus is a person, then the more value we put in its future. Don Marquis said that it is prima facie seriously wrong to kill the young.

Feminist accounts are obviously concerned with the importance of protecting women’s rights to continue or to stop pregnancy as each sees fit over the morality of performing abortion or the welfare, future of the fetus. They insist more on the accessibility and the delivery of abortion services. They consider the fetus as a nonperson, and is only of value when the mother wants to conceive it. They always talk about their freedoms, but they aren’t concerned of the fetus’s right to live, rather they amuse themselves with their views of having the power to award fetuses value, as vendors put prices on their goods. They are asserting that abortion to them involves considerations to the needs and interests of everyone, including them, and the fetus they carry, when in fact, they are more concerned of women’s rights and freedoms valuing more education and work over their responsibilities as mothers and wives. Their assertions are not only invalid and contradicting, but they also undermine their roles as mothers and as partners. Women are integral in the make up of a family, and it is through proper functioning in their roles as mothers and wives and as professionals with the help of their partners can there be hope for the children to experience proper upbringing.
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PostSubject: #3   Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:43 pm

Much of the debates about Abortion, especially the earlier ones, are often dominated by extremists – the Pro-Life believers, who are against it; and the Pro-choice ones, who are in favor of it. In discussing the issues of Abortion, it is almost inevitable to come across the argument of whether or not fetuses are persons. Establishing the personhood of the fetus could help confirm the moral and legal rights it might be given of, or denied from.

The pro-choice supporters claim that a fetus does not become a person until birth; and since the fetus is within the woman’s body, making it part of her own, she has the full control over it, just like what she have over her own body. The pro-life advocates, on the contrary, argue that life begins at conception, pointing out that abortion then is murder.

A common critique to both sides would be that they only focus on the conditions which they can satisfy, and seem to neglect the other criteria which they can not attain. The actual development of humans is, after all, gradual. No clear boundary between levels of development is available, hence, it would also be unattainable to find a definite time when a fetus can be considered a person at all.

Another fallacy which occurs on the debate, as stated in the text, is identified as the ‘fallacy of affirming the consequent’. It can take the form of:
P1) If x is a person, then x has human DNA.
P2) The fetus has human DNA.
C) Therefore, the fetus is a person.
Even if the premises are true, the conclusion that can be drawn from this type of argument are not well-supported by the argument itself, and therefore may be termed to as ‘unreliable’, or even invalid. Consequently, the claims that a fetus is a person because it has human DNA, or because its mother is a human, are fallacious.

The use of self-defense model in viewing the subject of Abortion is also emphasized on the essays. It presents 4 perspectives: (1) the only acceptable way to avoid pregnancy is through abstinence, (2) contraception is all right, but abortion is always wrong, (3) you may only kill the attacker, if he/she intends to kill you, not if he/she will only injure you, and finally, (4) it is all right to kill the attacker, even if he/she would cause only a slight inconvenience. The fourth view seem to in total difference compared with the rest, in that, it justifies the killing although the potential harm avoided is less drastic than the act of self-defense.

There is a common consensus that killing is morally wrong. But then again, this view can sometime be bent, depending on the nature of the act. If it is just for fun, killing is totally wrong, but if the act can benefit the majority of the population, then it can be permissible, as in the case of non-humans (e.g. killing of pests to ensure healthy crops, chickens for food, etc.). However, if the subject would be non-humans, although the result would be beneficial, experimenting on them or killing them would still be viewed as morally wrong.

This is the reason why we are trying to establish the personhood of the fetus. There are still differences on how the public view the act of killing. If the subject is a non-person, the complications are less; but if it is a person, killing would only be permissible if it is done in self-defense. But what if, for instance, fetuses are non-persons? Who are we to decide what we may or may not do to non-persons?
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PostSubject: kakajoin q p lng hehe. question number 1   Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:11 am

Jan Israel N. Barrios
Philo 171- TF 10:00-11:30am
Prof. Jimenez


In Jane English’s article, the different positions made on the issue of abortion were the following: Those who are against abortion argue that life begins at conception and abortion is wrong because it murder while pro-abortion people argue that a fetus is not a person until it is born so it cannot be considered as murder. With such assumptions, it seemed like the easiest way to find out if abortion is right or wrong is to define the concept of a “person”. That is, if a fetus qualifies as a person, then abortion is murder and is therefore wrong. But if it does not, then abortion would be justified. However, defining the concept of a “person” is not really as easy as it seems. There is no clear cut definition of what a person is and so, using this definition to justify or condemn abortion would seem inappropriate. Like what Jane English had said in her article, the concept of a “person” itself is so broad that anti-abortion people would simply pick out from the definition those conditions that would satisfy a fetus’s personhood while pro-abortion peeps would do just the contrary- selecting the conditions of a person that the fetus lacks. Choosing only those conditions that favor their positions only makes it more difficult to determine if abortion is right or wrong. In the first place, the basic assumptions of both positions already had loopholes from the start. I agree with Jane English that not all killings are murders especially her point on self-defense. If it would indeed harm the woman, then I think it would be acceptable to free the woman from the fetus. And I also accept Jane English’s argument that you cannot do whatever you please with a non-person. Even in our society, it is not acceptable to hurt or kill animals (which are non-persons) just for pleasure. Therefore, I disagree with the idea that abortion would be wrong or right depending on whether a fetus is a person or not because I believe that anything that has life and does not pose serious harm to others, has the right to live. Both assumptions have their points. But both of them are still unacceptable for me because their assumptions are very limited on defending their own positions. They want to have a clear win over the other- something that, as we all know, impossible to achieve. To establish a more acceptable assumption, both sides should be open-minded enough to consider the points of the other, and not merely selecting conditions or arguments that would favor them. Is abortion right or wrong? I believe it would be better not to answer this in a general sense. I mean, let us remember that what is right in our country may not be morally right on another nation vice versa. Many things that are considered right centuries or just decades ago are now established as wrong. And what is now considered as right may be considered wrong in the future vice versa. The concept of right or wrong is also subjective and has a problem in itself. So I think it is inappropriate to give a general statement that abortion is universally right or it is universally wrong. Instead, we should answer this on a case to case basis by looking at the situation. For example, if a poor (financially) teenage girl engages in premarital sex, gets pregnant and wants to abort her baby, then abortion is wrong because she was irresponsible to engage in premarital sex without thinking of the consequences. Her baby has nothing to do with it and should not be killed for the fault of the teenage girl.. Some anti-abortion peeps agree that abortion is justified only if it poses a serious threat to the woman. And in the case of the teenage girl, Pro-abortion peeps may argue that since the girl had unwanted pregnancy and is worried that this could harm her in the future (in terms of her studies or career), and abortion is justified if it could harm a person, then the girl could abort her baby. But this argument is wrong because if the girl is thinking of her future, then she should not have had premarital sex in the first place. Having sex to have pleasure and then aborting the unwanted child without any serious threat (to her body) just to save her future career is pure SELFISHNESS. So in this case, abortion is wrong. In fact, abortion itself could be seriously harmful to a woman’s body. It could sometimes lead to the death of both mother and child. However, if, as mentioned for so many times already, the fetus may really harm the body of the woman, then abortion is justified. Yet, it is important to determine first the severity of the threat. Like what is mentioned in one of the articles, killing people for self-defense is justified depending on the threat being posed. If the person is on the act of shooting you and you are certain that he will, then you may shoot him before he does the same to you. But if you have a hidden gun and a person that is still a few feet away from you, is walking towards you and is threatening to stab you with the sharp part of a nail cutter (the one used in removing dirt under the nails), I don’t think shooting him to death is necessary. Perhaps running away would do or as a last resort, shoot him in the foot or the leg. Incapacitate him but not kill him. Applying this to the issue of abortion, if the threat posed to the body of the woman may cost her her life, abortion is justified. But if the threat, although serious, could be treated or mitigated without having to kill the child, then abortion is not justified. In Don Marquis’ article, he said that the biggest reason why killing is wrong is because it deprives the person killed of all the value that he had and would have in the future. Killing the fetus without any reasonable cause then deprives him/her the value that he/she would have in the future. Therefore, abortion is wrong or right not on whether a fetus is a person or not, but depending on the circumstance/ situation.
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PostSubject: ANSWER TO QUESTION NUMBER 3   Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:49 pm


Abortion is a multi faceted issue and until now, it remains as a dilemma to most women today. Many writers, mostly feminists, have written about it and have had their say but until today, there is no black and white, clear answer if it is indeed truly moral or not.

Many feminists actually clamor for pro- choice. Sally Markowitz in particular claims that even if a fetus has a right to life, its status should be independent from the woman. Because, if the woman is suffering from discrimination and inequality in a society frowning upon unwanted pregnancies, then abortion becomes morally permissible, unless the society we belong in becomes purely egalitarian. Another feminist, Laura Hershey says that pro- life advocates hinder the lives and freedom of many women in society. They should be able to make decisions for their happiness and bodies. Yet, she contradicts her own premise saying that, if a woman aborts her baby if it’s disabled, then it’s immoral since it shows discrimination of the disabled and handicap.

On the pro- life side, Don Marquis claims that killing deprives its victims of more than any other crime: the loss of one’s entire future life (activities, projects, experiences, enjoyments). So, killing is morally wrong. It is the value of the lost future that makes killing wrong. He says that in this case, the at of euthanasia is justifiable since terminally ill and suffering patients do not have any valuable future to lose. Since fetuses have an even greater future to loose than children or adults, then it is prima facie wrong to abort (kill) fetuses.

Jane English then justifies that no necessary and sufficient conditions (though there are necessary conditions and there are sufficient conditions, they do not help resolve the abortion issue) for abortion to be morally permissible or impermissible. Playing the devil’s advocate, she says that if fetus is a person, some abortions are permissible in self-defense against innocent threats to mother's well-being, life prospects, or mental or physical health. But even if fetus is not a person, coherence of our moral sentiments (e.g. sympathy) and attitudes would require that we give moral consideration to person-like beings. In the latest stages of pregnancy, abortion is psychologically akin to murder.
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