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Abortion is a very controversial topic in our society today. This is due to the fact that, while many people might not be ready to raise a child, it is often disputed when exactly a child is considered sentient or, in other words, “alive”. This, along with religious, financial, and scientific disputes, creates a lot of difficulty in the way of creating laws when concerning abortion. While I, and many others, agree that abortion should be legalized and morally permissible due to One case, Roe vs Wade, goes over the legality of abortion, weighing the value of the mother’s life and freedom when compared to the life of the unborn child. Don Marquis, on the other hand, argues against abortion, talking about the ethical issues, such as the fact that it isn’t the right of the mother to take the unborn child’s life anymore once they are conceived.
Roe vs. Wade helps to explain that, as far as the Constitution is concerned, despite its basic way of explaining what a “person” is, it basically states a person as post-natal, which denies these unborn children the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. This also denies unborn children rights in the eyes of the law, such as when considering murder. This being said, it defers the rights of the unborn child to the mother in question, who is protected under their right to privacy and other personal freedoms. Occasionally, these rights are infringed upon, such as when the Patriot Act was made and other acts made for the good of the people, however, as stated in the case, Where certain “fundamental rights” are involved, the Court has held that regulation limiting these rights may be justified only by a “compelling state interest,”. Essentially, the majority of what this case proves is that, with the way law is today, abortion is entirely at the discretion of the mother. It should not be right to infringe on this right only in the case of a pregnant woman based on the broad definition of life, and cases where pro-lifers say it should only be right to abort a child based solely on “life threatening circumstances” are too few and far between and too vague to be the only instance where a woman can abort a child.
On the opposing side, Don Marquis would argue that abortion is wrong, and that it does infringe on the rights of another. To defend this, he refers to a theory called the “Future Like Ours” (FLO) Theory. FLO states that the main problem in ending any life, conscious or no, is that they can no longer live a future like they rest of us. They lose all potential futures, experiences, etc. Therefore, death, as a consequence, is bad not because of the life they had beforehand, but because of the life they couldn’t have lived had they not been killed. This is divided into four arguments. The first is the “Considered Judgement” argument. This argument concerns the way we judge death. The reason pain comes from terminal illnesses, for example, is that they have “an impending loss of FLO”. If it hadn’t been for this, FLO would be considered plainly wrong. The second argument is the “Worst Crimes” argument. The worst crimes argument explains simply that, as killing is considered the worst crime, worse than robbery or assault because it takes away the entirety of your future, not just an impediment to your life. This is why killing is only justified in the most extreme circumstances, such as when other lives are threatened by the person in question. This argument explains why abortion should only be legal in the case where the mother is in danger of death by the unborn child. Just because the child may inconvenience an unready mother, it is not a serious enough (as in life threatening) situation to constitute aborting the child, as the law does not condone death unless in the most extreme circumstances. The third argument is the “Appeal to Cases” argument. The appeal to cases argument explains that, situations where we end lives involuntarily are due to cases where the person in question is unlikely to have a FLO. The most obvious case is in active euthanasia of people with terminal illnesses, or passive euthanasia in the case of a person who is in a coma that is just extremely unlikely for said person to wake up. These cases further show that the only time when lives show no chance of having a future like ours will we allow the killing of a person. In contrast, we do not condone the death of a suicidal person who failed to complete suicide. This shows that, in Marquis words, “even though the suicidal have indicated that they want to die, medical personnel will act to save their lives. This supports the view that it is not the mere desire to enjoy a FLO which is crucial to our understanding of the wrongness of killing. Having a FLO is what is crucial to the account”. It also explains that we would be unlikely to kill extra terrestrials, as they too have a future to live (perhaps not quite like ours but the argument still stands), so the objection that fetuses are not quite people is not relevant or a valid argument. The last argument is “Analogy with Animals”. This draws heavily from Singer’s argument that infliction of suffering on any being is wrong, regardless of if that suffering is imposed on a person or nonperson. It goes further by saying that it is not the loss of a certain person’s or group’s future that is important, but a loss of a future at all. Therefore, the loss of a fetus is a great loss, regardless of if it could be called human.
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