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Lecture 16

CAS PH 150 Lecture 16: PH150 Lecture 16: Marquis, Warren, and Thomas on Abortion

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Boston University
CAS PH 150
Suzanne Sreedhar

PH150: Lecture 16- Marquis, Warren, and Thomas on Abortion Don Marquis: “Why Abortion is Immoral” • Thesis: the vast majority of abortions are immoral/wrong • Argument o It is wrong to kill “us” ▪ Us: adult, fully rational, conscious, innocent human beings o What makes killing adult humans wrong is that it takes away a valuable future (“future like ours”) ▪ False Reasons Murder is Wrong • Murder causes pain o Painless killing exists (i.e. murdered in your sleep), yet we still consider it to be wrong • Murder causes pain to the people who lose the victim o People can be killed that do not have anyone else in their lives (ex: hermits), but we would still say killing them is wrong ▪ Correct reason: “future like ours” • Future like ours: opportunity to have experiences, successes, failures, love, projects, contributions, etc. o Marquis says this is why we find the murder of children especially wrong, since their futures are cut even shorter than adults o A fetus has a future like ours o Abortion takes away that future o Therefore, abortion is wrong • Potential Objections o Contraception is wrong because you are preventing a future life ▪ Marquis says contraception isn’t wrong because you aren’t preventing a “future like ours” • A sperm/egg on their own aren’t a being with any kind of future • There are millions of sperm, so what individual future are you protecting? • Exceptions for Marquis o If the mother’s life is at stake ▪ You can have an abortion if you would take away the life of another adult human in a similar circumstance • Ex: self-defense Mary Ann Warren: On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion • Thesis: abortion is not morally wrong • Two senses of the word “human” o Genetic/biological ▪ Have human DNA, homo sapiens ▪ Includes adults, comas, infants, fetuses, petri dishes with huma
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