There are many stances taken on whether abortion is moral. This paper will look at a multitude of arguments to see how abortion ties in with the moral principles that make up biomedical ethics. I support the legalization of abortion because any person, in this case a pregnant woman, has a right to their autonomy in personal matters of their own physical body only in the embryonic stage of pregnancy.
A woman’s right to her autonomy should never be curtailed unless for very important reasons. Is a fetus or embryo an important reason? Justice implies that all members of society receive what is fair or their due. Does that mean fetuses, since they are not apart of society, are not protected by justice? These questions only lead to more questions, and the only way to find answers to these questions is through defining what we know. What are human beings? Why is it wrong to kill humans? Are fetuses/embryos persons? The debate has gone back and forth, with good reason. Is it possible that we cannot classify fetuses and embryos as persons, because society itself may not have a commonly accepted definition?
Mary Ann Warren points out that fetuses do not have personhood by listing several traits observed by persons. “Consciousness and the capacity to feel pain, reasoning, self motivated activity, the capacity to communicate, the presence of self concepts and self awareness either individual or racial or both.” Warren defends her position by adding that not all of these traits are needed to identify if any being is a person, however, not possessing any of these traits leads to the conclusion that the being is indeed not a person. All of the criteria Warren provides are definitely those that define a person. However, are these the only terms on which a being can be considered a person?
Don Marquis labels the debate of personhood between pro-choice and anti-abortionist as a standoff. Marquis’ reasoning is that there is no proof or evidence of when a fetus becomes a person. To avoid the count all together and to rely on other principles and reasons to declare whether or not abortion should be permissible allows the debate to be redirected to the core of the argument itself: is abortion morally permissible or not.
What can be determined unlike the personhood account is that at the moment of conception the zygote is produced by the fusion of only two cells, the sperm and egg. From here on the zygote grows and develops into an embryo. Now to introduce a new aspect to the argument, people smoke and drink and by doing so knowingly kill their own lung and liver cells. Though there are campaigns to publicize the unhealthiness of smoking and drinking and the harms it causes to one’s body, people have the right to exercise their autonomy and to do what they want to their own body. If they want to smoke and drink and by doing so, kill their own cells, they can. The principle of autonomy is...