My Ethics Paper #1

Leticia Adams

Professor Watkins

Ethics Exam #3

Tooley argues that in order for a human being to be a person and have a right to life they have to have knowledge of themselves, desires, experiences and be aware of itself as a continuing entity.  Therefore a fetus or even an infant which don’t meet those requirements do not have a right to life. And abortion is not always immoral.

I disagree. I think that the personhood debate is really a debate about who is and who isn’t going to be allowed into the human family. It is not about self-knowledge. That definition of person leaves out a lot of human beings.  Personhood is about who will be legally protected against being killed or treated inhumanly.  The root of it is the same as who will legally protect women from being raped, people from being robbed, or any other law we have that protects the rights of human beings.  Anytime in history we as the human race have failed to legally protect a section of human beings from having the same rights as others, we have been wrong.  I can think of many examples. Women voting, women reporting being raped by strangers then by their husbands, slavery, racism, and the holocaust to list a few. Anytime we as human beings try to put a value on some lives and not all lives there have been horrific consequences.

If we say that a fetus is not a person because it doesn’t meet Tooley’s requirements to be a person then we open the door up to killing children even as old as a year or two.  Where does it end? How far will organizations like Planned Parenthood go to get money from the government to kill infants in the name of population control and Eugenics? Or is it just mothers who have the right to kill their children? If so then nobody who is pro-abortion rights should be upset about the Casey Anthony case. But yet they were. In fact I heard several abortion advocates say that she should have just aborted the child. What difference does it make? The human being who did not meet the requirements of Tooley’s idea of personhood is dead either way the only difference is that the mother saved $400 bucks and didn’t have to have surgery.

I have found a strong link between abortion and poverty. There are more abortion clinics in poor areas in the US than in more financially stable areas. One could argue that is due to lack of medical coverage in poor areas. That may be the case, but in 2007 the Census Bureau reported that 13.8% of women who had an abortion where white while 48.2% were black.  That is a big difference.

Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the nation and in the world. The International Planned Parenthood Federation fights to legalize abortion throughout the world. And just like in the US they want to provide abortions for people in the poverty stricken parts of the world. All in the name of saving the poor and population control. It’s interesting to me the links between the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, and Eugenics.  Eugenics is a process of biology to improve the genetics of a population. In other words create a pure breed of humans by killing the socially undesirable human beings of the world.   In her own words:

“Our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying… demonstrates our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism …[Philanthropists] encourage the healthier and more normal sections of the

World to shoulder the burden of unthinking and indiscriminate fecundity of others; which brings with it, as I think the reader must agree, a dead weight of human waste.  Instead of decreasing and aiming to eliminate the stocks that are most detrimental to the future of the race and the world, it tends to render them to a menacing degree dominant … We are paying for, and even submitting to, the dictates of an ever-increasing, unceasingly spawning class of human beings who never should have been born

At all.” 1

Before we even get to the idea of whether abortion is moral or not, we should look at why it is such a big issue. It became an issue with Ms. Sanger wanting to rid the nation of the poor, handicapped, feeble, weak, colored, or any other person she, and other like-minded people, deemed less than human. Human beings who are not persons for whatever reason deemed by certain people who put themselves as the judge of who does and doesn’t have the right to life.

There are reasons for unwanted pregnancy. One being the generations of people who have grown to believe the idea that there is somehow a full proof way to have care free sex.  What needs to change is our idea of sex and what sex is. As long as we offer this idea that you can have sex and not have to deal with the consequences of that choice then we will have unwanted pregnancies. That is not to say that abstinence only programs are the only answer either. That is obvious, but providing abortion as an option is obviously not helping either.  The number of abortions may have declined but that doesn’t change the fact that 54% of women who are seeking abortion report using some type of birth control.

There are women who stand outside of abortion clinics talking to women going in for abortions and there have been many times when the women change their mind when they learn of all the help there is. There are countless maternity homes, pregnancy crisis centers and even and OBGYN in Austin who will care for women in unplanned pregnancies. No child is unwanted; most women just don’t see how they can support a child. All women feel that way when they find out they are pregnant. Abortion sets the mother up against her child for survival. It’s her or the child. So the justification begins, “The child is better off” but really it isn’t about the suffering of the child it is about the long term difficulty the mother faces.  It goes back to drowning the kitten instead of torturing it, except they are killing the child so it doesn’t “suffer”. That is not the parent’s job. What if I was to know during pregnancy that my child would be bullied in the 7th grade and therefore “suffer”, should I have aborted him? All children bring and have hardships. All children require hard work and sacrifice. There is no perfect time to have a child. A mother thinking of abortion is already a mother, she already has a child.  The question is whether or not she should be allowed to end the life of that child because it’s an inconvenience to her.

Abortion is sold to women as their freedom. But are women truly free? Why is it that so many women who find themselves pregnant feel trapped? Women are created to bear children are we not? So if we are truly free we should be allowed to have our children and work without fear of losing our position or status in the workplace.  Abortion frees the man from having to support a woman and a child he had a part in creating. There is nothing about women’s advancement in that, in my opinion. Women should get paid the same as men and should be treated the same as men, all while being able to be women.  So women’s right, in my opinion, isn’t abortion on demand. Women’s rights involve women being able to choose when and if they have children without fear of losing “themselves”. The same theory of self that Tooley expresses when he talks about scrambling someone’s brain is the same “self” that women feel is being taken away from them by an unborn child in their womb.

I agree with Tooley on one thing. If someone says that abortion is a moral choice then that person would have to say that infanticide is moral as well.  I have yet to encounter an abortion advocate who feels that way, and honestly I wouldn’t want to.

Abortion does not offer women what abortion advocates claim it does. It doesn’t offer equality, freedom or a moral choice. Abortion is none of these things. The history of abortion in this country and the world is directly linked to slavery, racism and the holocaust. Anyone who does not know these connections should do the research for themselves. It has been packaged as women’s rights, but it is really about ridding the world of the poor and lower class. It is about valuing one’s own life and comfort more than the life of another human being.   It is never moral to intentionally kill an innocent life in or out of the womb.

1. —    Margaret Sanger.   The Pivot of Civilization, 1922.  Chapter on “The

Cruelty of Charity,” pages 116, 122, and 189.  Swarthmore College Library



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