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Essay example - Under what conditions is abortion morally acceptable?

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Pages 4 (1004 words)
The debate surrounding abortion has been a part of public policy discourse for more than half a century now. Despite widespread exposure to the issue and passionate presentation of views there is no generally accepted consensus…

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Under what conditions is abortion morally acceptable?

On the other extreme, in the more liberal states region, there is the danger of abuse of the right to abortion by reckless, indulgent teenagers. This essay will argue that abortion must be exercised only under exceptional circumstances. Four key readings related to the topic are perused for constructing arguments. Dan Marquis’ essay “Why Abortion is Immoral” clearly suggests that the author looks cannot see any genuine moral grounds for permitting abortion. A central part of his essay is the idea of ‘potentiality’ of a developing fetus. Drawing analogy from the criminal justice system, he explains how the same moral justifications for condemning killing an adult should also apply for the fetus (irrespective of the period of gestation). This is so, Marquis argues, as terminating a fetus deprives it of all potential experience of life and happiness – the same rationale applied for sentencing those committing homicide.
After all, if we merely believe, but do not understand, why killing adult human beings as ourselves is wrong, how could we conceivably show that abortion is either immoral or permissible” (Marquis, p.400) Marquis’ point is well taken, especially since he does not dogmatically cling to all the demands of the conservative camp. Marquis has no qualms about use of contraceptives, as it stands outside the concern with ‘killing’. Use of contraceptives is a preemptive act and does not interfere with the future (with all its potentialities) of a developing fetus. In contrast, what makes ‘killing’ wrong “is its effect on the victim. The loss of one’s life is one of the greatest losses one can suffer. ...
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