Essay about Response to Don Marquis' "Why Abortion Is Immoral"

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Pages: 8

Don Marquis' "Why Abortion is Immoral"

In his essay "Why Abortion is Immoral," Don Marquis argues against the morality of abortion on the premise that the value of a fetus' future is so great that it is immoral to take that potential future away from it. Essentially, he contends, abortion is tantamount to murder: killing an individual is prima facie wrong because the loss of the goods of one's future is the worst loss a human can suffer. He calls this potential future a "future-like-ours," which is the basis for his contentions. In the next few pages I will delineate the general progression of his argument, and later, will evaluate the plausibility of said argument. Though Marquis makes both logical and compelling claims, there are
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Though I grant Marquis the soundness of his general argument, and the premise that all fetuses have a potential future, we cannot infer from this claim that this future will necessarily be a positive one. It becomes a murky and essentially taboo dilemma to even ask if the lives of these children are worth living, and if they would have been better off being aborted in the womb. Marquis may still claim that every fetus has a right to life no matter what, but because he does not consider these cases in his argument, it is worth noting that the answers might not be so straightforward and that more complicated cases do exist. The main concern I would like to note regarding Marquis' argument is that he does not once consider the rights of the mother and the value of her future. Although Marquis treats the fetus as an independent being, we must at least recognize that the fetus' life depends on its mother's: it receives all of its nutrition from her and it develops in her womb. So, how would Marquis respond to a situation in which the mother will surely (or even has the remote chance) of dying in childbirth, even if the fetus will not? Here, we have two potential futures contesting each other, because this is a one or the other situation - either the fetus must die or the mother will in delivering it. Similar to the example mentioned previously of the sick fetus, it is not easy to simply