Applied Ethics: Abortion
o Traditional Approaches: exploring the rights of the fetus as a focus, the moral status
of the fetus.
Typically argues that abortion is wrong from the time of conception;
reason for immorality varies ( sanctity of life, has rights as a human
based on genes)
Abortion becomes wrong at a significant point, prior to this point, it
is morally permissible (viability, sentience)
Only persons have rights, discerned by certain characteristics, which
exclude fetuses and so abortion is permissible.
o Non-traditional: focuses on the rights of the women.
- John T. Noonan Jr.
o An entity becomes at person at conception, so except to save a mother’s life,
abortion is morally wrong.
o If conceived by human parents, your genetic code indicates that you are human with
entitlement to human rights.
- Fundamental Question
o How do you determine the humanity of a being?
Viability – invalid.
Whether or not it is dependent upon the mother for life;
The idea of viability is changing, should that be a determining factor
in determining humanity?
Experience - invalid
Through our experiences we become human – fetuses don’t have
Fetus’ experiences to light and touch begin at 8 weeks
Sentiments of adults - invalid
Grief from losing a child differs from the loss of a fetus