The Abortion Issue 1973 Roe v. Wade decision: Constitutional right to privacy Balanced the interests of the woman and the state’s interest A “negative right” provides liberty from interference but not necessarily access Pro-choice Pro-life
Sanctity of Life Argument If the fetus is a live human, killing humans is wrong Exceptions: Self-defense Where the mother’s life is in danger. Is a fetus a human? When does the fetus becomes human and possess a “right to life”?
Killing and Self-Defense Killing for self-defense: Justification not provided when it comes to killing an innocent You may not ethically push someone in front of a car in order to save yourself
Killing and Self-Defense (continued) Assessment of the multiple character of actions: Doctrine of double effect
Doctrine of Double Effect Course chosen must be good or at least morally neutral Good must not follow as a consequence of the secondary harmful effects
Doctrine of Double Effect (continued) The harm must not be intended but merely tolerated as causally connected with the good intended The good must outweigh the harm
Human or Person Human on the basis of one’s genetic code Status of person is only given to members of the moral community (entities with rights) Do the unborn meet the criteria for personhood?
Personhood Criteria Personhood criteria: Consciousness of objects and events The ability to feel pain Reasoning Self-motivated activity The capacity to communicate A concept of self
Personhood Criteria (continued) Does the personhood criteria advance the abortion argument?
Judith Thompson Analogies Abortion analogies: The violinist The rapidly growing child The carpet-seed children Do you feel that the Thompson analogies advance the argument in regard to abortion?
The Argument from Women’s Liberty and Priority of Life Plan Rape, incest, and protection of the woman’s life However, most common reasons for abortions deal with personal liberty and control over one’s life plan Autonomous self-realization through the control of one’s life plan
Environmental Perspective As the world population grows, we could overwhelm the world’s environmental resources China, with its 1.4 billion people, has instituted a one child per family policy
Environmental Perspective (continued) Humans are part of the biotic community with a duty to maintain a balance of numbers with the other members of that community Does this argument advance the abortion argument?
In Vitro Fertilization Story of Louise Brown: First test tube embryo First embryo transfer Few ethical problems with process
In Vitro Fertilization (continued) Ethical issues arise from: Spare embryos from process – legal status Harm to embryos from freezing Path to “abortion in vitro” Research with embryonic tissue
Surrogacy Practice of surrogacy: For money As a gift Ethical issues involved: If for money, is this the same as trading in humans? The debasement of women Disagreements following birth?
Surrogacy Arguments Kantian arguments: Can be used to argue both positions Utilitarian arguments: Very complicated utility calculations
Key Concepts The Roe v. Wade decision Pro-choice and pro-life positions Duty vs. consequence reasoning Sanctity of life Personal autonomy and self-determination One child policy per family in China Abortion in cases of rape or incest
Key Concepts (continued) In vitro fertilization: How to avoid problem of additional embryos created in process? Can additional embryos be used in biological research?
Key Concepts (continued) Surrogacy: Problems associated with paying women for this service Criteria to use when there is disagreement?