Marquis: “Why Abortion is Immoral”
Position: Against ProChoice
Even though he believes it is immoral, he is critical against the standard antiabortion argument
Standard AntiAbortion Argument
P1. A fetus has characteristics (e.g. genetic code) that are nec. and suf. to qualify as a human being
P2. It is always prime facie (PF) wrong to take a human life
C3. It is always PF seriously wrong to take the life of a fetus through abortion.
P1 describes course of affairs, P2 describes course of action.
Problem with P1 very hard to pick out what is characteristic of a human being. Hair and cancer cells have human DNA, is it
wrong to kill them.
Problem with P2 in some cases it is not wrong to take a human’s life. Claim might be too broad.
Standard ProChoice Argument
P1. Fetuses are not rational agents
P2. It is only PF wrong to take the life of a rational agent.
C3. It is not wrong to take the life of a fetus.
Problem with P2 Too narrow, nothing wrong with killing kids or senile old people.
What is wrong with killing a human being? If we can identify what is wrong with killing each other, we can identify what is
wrong with killing a fetus.
Utilitarian, Deontological, etc. considerations
Dehumanizes the perpetrator. Has to be something wrong done to the victim, not the perpetrator.
Harms the family of the victim. Same problem, has to be wrong to the person killed.
Marquis: Killing is wrong because it deprives someone of a valuable future
Valuable Future Argument (VFA)
P1. The loss of my biological life is a loss to me of all the experiences, etc. which would otherwise have constituted my future
P2. These experiences, etc. are PF valuable
C3. The loss of my biological life is the loss to me of all that is PF valuable about my future.
P4. Depriving someone of all that is valuable about their future is PF wrong.
C5. Therefore, killing me is PF wrong. * Argument is about valuableness not value. (Depressed people may not value, but life may be valuable)
* Robbing someone of a valuable future is wrong, but it is not the only thing that can make something wrong.
Implications of VFA
Theory not limited to any one biological conception of life
Wrong to kill any animals whose future is sufficiently like ours
Euthanasia is not ruled out if they don’t have a valuable future, this argument would say it is not wrong to deprive them of
Theory explains why it is wrong to kill children/infants Even though they are not rational beings, they still have a valuable
Is VGA a good argument?
There don’t seem to be any things wrong
Abortion is Immoral Argument (AIA)
P1. Killing me is PF wrong because it deprives me of my valuable future as a human being.
P2. A fetus has a valuable future as a human being
P3. If killing a human is PG wrong because it deprives a human of valuable future, then depriving fetus is PF wrong because it
deprives fetus of valuable future.
C4. Killing a fetus is PF wrong. (1,2,3)
Is the AIA a good argument?
It seems to show that contraception is immoral.
Contraception is Not Immoral
If contraception is immoral, there must be subject that was harmed.
Sperm alone (No: arbitrary)
Ovum alone (No: arbitrary)
Both sperm and ovum (separately) (No: two valuable fu