Gensler's Abortion Argument

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Gensler’s Abortion Argument

In Harry Gensler’s essay discussing abortion, he spends much time debating classic arguments such as whether or not a fetus is a human being, of if abortion is morally acceptable because it has a balance of good results. After showing the possible controversy within these two arguments, Gensler makes his argument based on the “Golden Rule” stating that in fact, abortion is wrong.

In the argument form, “it is wrong to kill innocent human beings, a fetus is an innocent human being, therefore it is wrong to kill a fetus,” Gensler points out a few flaws.(Gensler pg 297) He first starts out by questioning whether or not a fetus is an innocent human being. He questions this by pointing out the fact that a fetus could possibly be hurting the health or social well-being of the woman. If this was the case, then the fetus, in turn, would not be considered innocent proving the argument form wrong. Gensler then continues to try and distinguish the differences of the definition of “killing.” He raises some important questions such as, “is there a distinction between killing and letting die – or between direct and indirect killing.”(Gensler pg 297) By bringing up these questions it makes one think whether or not you can blame a woman for her decision to have an abortion. Considering that the mother is not directly killing the fetus, is she morally to blame? Lastly, Gensler brings up the most important questions within this argument form, “what exactly is considered a human being.” He brings up different definitions of when exactly one can be considered a human being, such as: at conception, when individuality is assured, when the fetus exhibits brain waves, when the fetus could live apart, at birth, and finally when the being becomes self-conscious and rational. He explains that all these definitions have validity to them, however he states that the definitions that the person chooses to believe depends heavily on their social upbringing....
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