Abortion Notes essay

Submitted By akalrayyan
Words: 1048
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


* 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