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Essay on the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion

4 pages
1064 words
Boston College
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In On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion Mary Anne Warrens demonstrate her justification that abortion is not a wrong action for a mother to perform. There is a notable difference between human and animals, and each has different moral rights. Warren claims that humans are entitled to stronger moral rights than animals had by animals because they have the capability to reason. She proposes that the position of humans is more important than animals because they are rational. In this paper, I will be describing warren position and the arguments she gives to support her position. The essay will offer the objection to Warren's position that promoting abortion is against the sacred value of life. I will argue that Warren's legal abortion rights position is incorrect and it ends a life which is sacred.

According to Warren humans have perceived from two different senses which include a human genetic sense and a human moral sense. The moral perception describes humans as members of the moral community while the genetic sense describes them as physical beings categorized as human species and therefore people are humans in the moral sense. Humans have unique characteristics that animals lack, and therefore their moral rights are stronger. According to Warren personhood consist the ability to show several five qualities which includes reasoning, consciousness, self-awareness, and communication. Fetuses are considered as animals because they lack the human moral sense, and they cannot reason nor communicate. Although when this principle is used to fetuses, they are merely human genetic beings. Fetuses are genetically human because they resemble humans and are categorized with human species. The unborn children are not included in the moral community, and therefore it is not necessary to treat them as if they have moral rights.

According to Warren, we cannot extend recognition of equal moral rights to animals because they are not a full-fledged member of the moral community. She argues that a person is a member of the moral community because they possess the can express themselves, they have a conscious mind that allows them reason before they perform any action. Animals are not in a capacity to communicate when they want something. Even though they may talk to their sounds, people do not understand what they are saying, and therefore they cannot express themselves. Their rights are determined by humans, and if they decide to kill them, they will execute them because they do not oppose the action. Animals do motivate themselves since every action they take is controlled by humans, and therefore they cannot be given equal moral rights to animals. Animals are not entitled to full rights such as right to happiness and right to life because their life is not respected and valued as those of humans.

The five qualities are the criteria used to determine the personhood of animals and fetuses because of their low mental sophistication. When one compares the suffering of a human and that of animals human suffering is greater than those of animals, and therefore their rights may be violated to save humans. For instance, suppose a human is hungry and has goats in the homestead, the goat may be slaughtered to feed the humans because the rights to life of humans are greater than that of a goat. It is the argument that human rights being stronger than non-human rights. According to Warren the most important feature that differentiates human with non-humans is the capacity of the human to listen to reason and they can choose between actions by the help of reasoned arguments. It is morally acceptable that the rights of animals may be overridden by those of humans for instance if a fetus is threatening the life of a woman, it could be removed to protect the life of the woman because the society is not certain whether the fetus will live after the normal birth. Another example is given by Warren showing that the rights of an animal may be overridden to protect a human, for instance, a person life is threatened by a wild animal the animal or killing a rodent that is destroying human food.

My objection to Warrens argument is that killing innocent human beings is wrong because they are entitled to the right to live. Warren argument about the fetus is not a full person because it cannot communicate and express its feelings of pain or happiness. The second criterion he uses is the fact that the brain of the fetus has not developed and therefore it cannot reason to arguments. A fetus is a human being, and its life should be valued without regarding the genetic code. It is morally wrong to kill an innocent being because it does not include a member of the moral community because the cells have not developed like those of a human being. Life starts at birth and terminating it is regarded as murder which is against the bill of rights given to everyone by the constitution. Rights of a fetus are the same to those of full-fledged human beings because they belong in the same category according to the law. Warren arguments that humans should make decisions whether to abort a child or not is wrong because life is valued and should be respected and therefore, no human has the power or right to deprive a fetus of its life because their rights are equal.

Killing a fetus denies is wrong because it deprives a person of his/her future. Warren argues that if the fetus is threatening the life of the mother, it should be aborted but this argument is wrong because abortion deprives the fetus its potential future. I suggest that other ways of removing the fetus from the mother body without killing it and in this case both the mother and the baby would survive. In the modern world, technological advance is helping in such complicated situations and the two survive. I oppose Warren argument that fetus rights can be overridden because they are not stronger than those of human beings because it is morally wrong to kill a fetus because it is a humanoid creature. Although the creature is not biologically human, it displays human-like features which will grow in future. In the future, the creature will have equal rights as those of humans, and therefore it should not be denied the right to live.

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