Analysis Of Why Abortion Is Immoral By Don Marquis

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In his paper ““Why Abortion is Immoral” Don Marquis explains that abortion is the moral equivalent of killing an adult human. Marquis ' argument is fairly straight-forward; abortion is seriously morally wrong because abortion involves killing. Marquis then explains that it is wrong to kill because killing robs a being of a natural property which is of great, if not the greatest, value. This he defines as the property of having a future. To be killed "deprives one of all the experiences, activities, projects, and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one 's future”. Therefore, according to Marquis, killing is wrong primarily because it imposes the greatest possible loss on the victim; the loss of one’s future.
Marquis argues that
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Factors other than a being’s loss of a valuable future are not taken into consideration by Marquis. For instance, as discussed in the class lecture, the rights and welfare of the mother are not taken into consideration by Marquis’ rationale. These positions are germane when discussing Marquis’ rationale that aborting a fetus would equate to the loss of a valuable “future like ours” and that a human’s future is by definition a “natural property” of the human species. Also, the potential for harm to the mother as a result of the pregnancy is not considered in Marquis’ rationale and this omission discounts the future value of the mother whose body is being used by the fetus to develop.
Marquis appears to assume that under most circumstances, a fetus, regardless of its level of gestation, has a moral expectation of a valuable future. This statement prompts the question; “how do we know what future that fetus will have if it is born?” To assume that every fetus has a “natural property” such as a “future like ours” is to superimpose our own cultural and personal expectations on that fetus and to be certain those expectations will come to fruition. Additionally, defining a possible “future like ours” as a
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In reality we do not even know that we have futures; we can only hope that we have futures and that those futures will meet our expectations. Again, in reality, most people’s futures end up much different, and often times much shorter and much less desirable, than expected. My point is that human futures are very fluid; it is hard to say how they will turn out. Each human can have an infinite number of futures and there is no guarantee that the value we place on our futures will be relevant to the value of a future attributed to a fetus. As for Marquis defining a future as a natural property, the very fact that a future is so uncertain, I feel, disqualifies it as a natural property because a natural property of humans should by definition be a natural property of ALL humans (we all have skin, we all have a heart, but we may not all have a valuable future). Hence, I would argue that Marquis’ definition of a natural property is not

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