Prompt #3 Taking the Middle Ground

Abortion is a very interesting topic to discuss. There are so many factors involved, like the rights of the mother vs. the fetus, or whether the fetus is a person or not. On one side are the advocates of pro-life (the conservative viewpoint), who view abortions as a form of murdering innocents; on the other are those for pro-choice (liberal viewpoint) who feel it is the completely the woman’s choice to have an abortion as it is her own body. The rest of people fall somewhere in between these two extremist views, and it is this moderate view that seems most reasonable to take. In “Abortion & the sexual agenda”, Sidney Callahan promotes her views as a prolife feminist. She argues “women can never achieve the fulfillment of feminist goals in a society permissive toward abortion.” (Callahan 113) First, she introduces the claims of pro-choice feminists, then goes on to refute these claims as inconsistent and detrimental to the feminist cause. Her standpoint is that “permissive abortion laws do not bring women reproductive freedom, social, equality, sexual fulfillment, or full personal development.” (Callahan 117) The availability of abortion encourages male irresponsibility because it allows males to escape the duties of fatherhood and child support. Abortion also conveys females as weak, as they cannot deal with the hardships of unwanted pregnancies. Callahan views the concepts of pregnancy, childbirth, and

dependent.” (Callahan 115) it should also be legally protected from harm. despised. The handicapped.” (Tooley 152) Under this assumption. one must fully understand the concepts behind it. and suppressed under male domination. the retarded. Callahan uses a comparison in order to justify her point that fetuses should be legally protected from harm. According to Callahan. and newborns are legally protected from harm. by allowing abortions to be readily available. as they do not qualify to have a right to life. takes the opposite view. and believes that it is itself a continuing entity. “An organism possesses a serious right to life only if it possesses the concept of self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states. A . dependent form of human life which only needs time and protection to develop. “The same…tradition which in our society guarantees the right to control one’s own body firmly recognizes the wrongfulness of harming other bodies. He bases his argument on the premise. life. thus making abortions illegal.” (Callahan 115) Therefore.Lee 2 nursing as a privilege only a woman can have. Tooley claims that in order to desire a certain thing. He would disagree with Callahan that fetuses should be legally protected from harm. his views can be extended to the idea that infanticide is morally permissible as well. different-looking. since “the fetus is an immature. Thus. Michael Tooley. however immature.” (Callahan 118) In her article. this privilege “has been denied. in “Abortion and Infanticide”. or powerless. in this case.

he would agree to a certain extent.W. Sumner makes two exceptions for cases where post-threshold abortions should be permissible.” (Sumner 129) It is this threshold point (explained as sometime in the second trimester of pregnancy) that decides whether or not a fetus should be legally protected from harm.Lee 3 fetus or newborn cannot possibly have a desire to continue life as they have yet to comprehend this idea. a true liberal would have to agree to an abortion days before birth on the grounds that the mother just didn’t want to bother with labor anymore. on therapeutic and eugenic grounds. it should not be granted legal protection from harm. If giving birth will put the mother’s life at risk. Sumner argues that there is some threshold during a pregnancy where the fetus gains moral standing. an abortion at any time during the pregnancy and under any circumstances must be viewed with the same moral status as the others. even if the woman was poverty stricken and still in school. For example. if it has reached this point. If a fetus has not reached this point of viability. Sumner takes the middle ground between Callahan and Tooley. it holds no right to life. “seeking an . it should. Sumner points out the defects of both the liberal and the conservative arguments due to “their uniform accounts of the moral status of the fetus. L. Likewise. As for Sumner’s response to Callahan’s statement. therefore. a true conservative would have to advocate that a woman must give birth to a fetus conceived during a rape. (Tooley 152-153) In “Abortion: A Moderate View”.” (Sumner 128) For these arguments to be consistent. “a being is sentient when it has the capacity to experience pleasure and pain.

since I feel that the woman is the most important person in this issue. However.” (Sumner 130) Thus. it should also be regulated. In the situation of a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest (I view incest as a variation of rape. it would be cruelly forcing a woman to bear a child that was conceived during her darkest and most horrific hour. As for where to “draw the line”. While I believe that women should be given the choice to do what they want with their bodies. therefore. I would say that an abortion should be permissible by law. I understand completely if the woman chooses to have an abortion following a rape. I believe that while abortion should be allowed it certain cases.Lee 4 abortion in such circumstances is a legitimate act of self-preservation.” (Sumner 130) He also states that an abortion is permissible if the fetus is found to have serious abnormalities. I also believe that potential life should try to be preserved as much as possible. My stance on the abortion issue is a moderate one. Sumner grants moral standing to fetuses who have the ability to feel pleasure and pain. I look at abortion in therapeutic terms . If abortion was not allowed in this case. but not necessarily encouraged. I will deal with just the idea of rape). considering “the terrible burden of carrying to term a child that a woman knows to be deformed. but places more emphasis on the woman’s well being. I again take the moderate stance and agree with Sumner’s view that a fetus gains moral standing with the ability to feel pleasure and pain. Thus.

What would happen if she goes through with the pregnancy? The mother would be forced to drop out of high school to have the baby and later care for it. In the situation involving the teenager becoming impregnated due to a lack of contraceptives. to care for the child post-birth. suppose the woman decides to give birth to the baby.Lee 5 rather than in terms of the fetus’s innocence. it seems more practical for an abortion at this point if the parents . The child may face some resentment by the parents because of this. at least temporarily. Here the woman is counteracting the rapist’s destructive behavior by giving the greatest gift of life to another. Instead of potentially three lives being ruined. and selflessness. clearly showing that the rapist has not won. thus. The father. and the family as a whole will go through many problems and hardships. whether physically or psychologically. there are many infertile couples out there who would welcome the child with open and loving arms. ruining any career goals she might have had. Even if the woman feels that she does not have the means. assuming he stays involved. I look at this situation realistically. strength. I do agree that it is completely the parents’ fault that she got pregnant and that it would be much preferred to give the fetus a chance at life. will probably have to drop school as well to get a job and support his new family. Instead of following a terrible act of violence with yet another act of violence. I think this would display a tremendous amount of courage. However. I believe that an abortion is not the answer to aid a woman in coping with the trauma of rape. I would say that abortion is permissible to a certain degree.

On the other hand. Therefore. I would propose a regulation that limits a woman to one abortion of this manner so the woman may learn from her mistake. . and governed not do it again. I am strongly against the idea that abortion could be abused and used as a backdoor out of all careless unwanted pregnancies (couples not being careful with the use of contraceptives.Lee 6 truly feel that they are not ready for the responsibility of a child. knowing that they can rely on abortion later on).