Philo 171
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PostSubject: answer to Q#1...   answer to Q#1... Icon_minitimeMon Nov 24, 2008 10:41 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 a 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: stand on abortion   answer to Q#1... Icon_minitimeMon Nov 24, 2008 5:20 pm

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: oops...   answer to Q#1... Icon_minitimeTue Nov 25, 2008 5:26 am

oops... can we just merge this one with the longer thread?
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israel barrios

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PostSubject: question number 1.   answer to Q#1... Icon_minitimeWed Nov 26, 2008 12:08 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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