Abortion Notes essay

Submitted By akalrayyan
Words: 1040
Pages: 5

Abortion & Euthanasia
* Abortion: Any situation in which a woman’s pregnancy ends in the death and removal of the foetus
* Miscarriage: Spontaneous
* Abortion: Intentionally induced
* Stages of pregnancy:
* Fertilization
* Zygote (A collection of cells)
* Day 5 it becomes a blastocyst
* Day 7 to 14 – implantation
* After this, it is knows as an embryo
* Week 8 – fetus (a pre-baby)
* Possible legality for abortions:
* Illegal (no exceptions)
* Generally illegal (Possible exceptions)
* If mother’s life is threatened
* If mother’s health is threatened
* If the pregnancy results from rape
* If the fetus is defective
* If the mother’s mental health is threatened
* If the mother just doesn’t want to have the baby
* The Abortion Act 1967
* Allowed an abortion up to 28 weeks if the mental or physical health of the woman was threatened or the fetus was handicapped
* Restricted to 24 weeks in 1990
* Northern Ireland has greater restrictions
* 2008: 195,296 abortions
* Pro-choice
* An embryo or fetus is not a person
* Forcing women to have babies represents state control of women’s bodies
* “Backstreet abortions”
* 20 million unsafe abortions a year
* 68 thousand women die a year
* Pro-life
* An embryo or fetus is a person
* Abortion is equivalent to murder
* This view is very strong in the USA
* Some Americans regard abortion doctors as murderers
* When does a person become a person?
* Aristotle believed that human life began when the fetus can move
* Quickening
* 40 days (males) or 90 days (females)
* The religious answer: when she/he receives a soul
* Ensoulment
* Possible beliefs today:
* Conception
* Viability (22 weeks)
* Birth
* Conception – the most apparently logical
* Problems with the view:
* The zygote could become two or more people
* Anthony Kenny replaces it with the formation of individual identity (2 weeks)
* Zygotes and blastocysts have none of the attributes of people
* 38% of all zygotes are lost without the knowledge of the women – roughly 300,000 a day
* It means that non-barrier methods of contraception (the pill) cause murder
* Viability
* The basis of British law
* Modern science is extending viability
* The record is now 19 weeks and 5 days
* Fetal pain
* Inconclusive scientific evidence
* If an ability to feel pain implies rights, these rights also apply to animals
* Peter Singer
* Australian philosopher born in 1946
* Utilitarianism
* We ought to maximize the good and minimize the bad
* The good is people getting what they want
* Persons have “rationality”, autonomy, and self-consciousness
* Adult humans
* Less so human children
* No special status comes from membership of the human species
* Killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all
* Anencephalic babies (born without a higher brain)
* Wrong to eat a cow but sometimes right to kill a baby

Euthanasia

* Types of euthanasia
* Involuntary
* Non-voluntary
* Voluntary
* How?
* Passive
* Non-active
* Active
* Involuntary Euthanasia
* The person involved does not want to die and says so
* Nazi program of involuntary euthanasia
* Action T4
* 275 thousand people who were ‘unworthy of life’
* Mentally and physically disabled Germans
* Mainly killed in ‘killing centers’
* The same as murder
* Non-voluntary Euthanasia
* The