Dan Marquis's Wrong To Kill A Fetus

Dan Marquis proposes that it is wrong to kill a fetus for the same reason that it is wrong to kill a person: killing them would deprive them of their future of value. I want to argue, however, that this reasoning cannot be used to conclude that all abortions are impermissible. In particular, I argue that Marquis does not give us good reason to think that abortions that occur within the first 25 weeks of pregnancy are impermissible. The paper will include two main arguments. Firstly, I will argue that, even if Marquis’s proposal for why it is wrong to kill a person is correct, abortions during very early stages of pregnancy are morally permissible because, in these stages, there is nothing that has a future of value. Secondly, I will argue that …show more content…
For example, coma patients do not value their futures while they are in comas, but they may still have futures of value. Marquis would reply to my earlier claim that, even though coma patients do not value their futures, we would think it monstrous to kill them. This view defines valuing something as a conscious act, much like we define eating or drinking. However, having interests is not a conscious act; rather, it is a subconscious act. One need not be consciously aware of one’s interests in order to have them. By this definition, people who are sleeping have interests, as do coma patients. Fetuses, on the other hand, do not. This is because the coma patient has had the years before he was in a coma to develop interests and value them whereas the fetus has never been capable of developing interests. This is a better analysis of the word “value” because even a normal, fully conscious person is not aware of all that they value. For example, most people would respond to the question “What do you value?” with “My friends, my family, my significant other, etc.” However, there could be many other things that they value (such as health care and a driver’s license) that they do not think about. Thus, valuing something is a greatly subconscious act. To wrong someone, the person who is wronged needs to have interests – they need to be losing something of value in order to be harmed. Otherwise, there would be no harm done and the person would not be suffering. The coma patient has something to lose by being killed, but the fetus does not. Therefore, because fetuses do not have any interests and cannot be harmed, abortions are not

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