When, If Ever, Is Abortion Permissible?

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One of the most controversial issues present in today's society is abortion. Abortion is the termination of a fetus done purposely to prevent the birth of a child. Since abortions are now easier, less dangerous and more accessible than they once were; they have become the target of debate in every aspect of our lives. The issue of abortion has caused many heated debates in politics, religion and society in general; yet both sides seem to only see one side of the picture and avoid the issue as whole.

One way of examining whether abortion is right or wrong is to look at whether or not the fetus is a person or not. This evaluation is done by Mary Anne Warren, in which she determines a set of criteria that both pro-abortionists and anti-abortionists can agree upon. Warren states that in order to be considered a fetus must: "have consciousness of objects and events, reasoning, self-motivated activity, capacity to communicate and the presence of self-concept and self-awareness." Using these criteria, Warren determines that the fetus has not reached personhood and therefore, is not guaranteed the right to life. Thus, she believes that at least until birth the fetus has no moral status and a lacks a right to life. (Warren) Warren's argument may seem a bit flawed because her criteria do not provide a clear cut way to distinguish between the fetuses in the stages of pregnancy or perhaps even the infant himself. According to her criteria, a newborn infant would not have a significant right to life, either; however, according to her, killing it would be wrong because there are people willing to care and provide for it's well being. But what about a baby that is aborted, are there not people willing to adopt and care for it? Another argument that she makes is that to be considered a person a human must have rational thought. Clearly a fetus does not have rational thought, but how would it compare to others in very compromising conditions. For example, individuals that are...
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