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Ethical Argument on Abortion | February 23, 2010

     This was an essay for a class I had to write on a modern ethical concern. I had to argue it using Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” for my basis of ethics.

     Abortion is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: “the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus”. Abortion is the death of an individual for the selfishness of the mother. Death is in the definition of abortion, and it is a sad truth. In 1996, there were about 3,750, on average, abortions per day. (abortionno.org). This is an ethical concern because this is taking away life from another individual, stripping away their rights, which is why it is unethical. A lifetime of experiences, events, revelations, and ultimately potential that is taken from not only the individual, but the world. That potential and their own cave and enlightened experience they could never have. Their “fire” is taken away from them. Abortion is the convenient answer that gives people a way out from their current problems in expense of the baby’s life. “93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).” (abortionno.org) That statistic is big, most arguments are for abortion if they were raped or some huge complication similar, when only 1% of abortion happens if they were raped or because of incest. This means that 93% of baby’s are being thrown away because it’s an easy way out for the mother. The infants are taken from the world before they’ve had the chance to choose. Their destiny is controlled by the mother that chooses to abort.

     “Personhood”, begins at conception. I cannot see how anyone else can see different. After conception, it’s not going to turn into anything else. From conception, its developing, but the unborn child is still a person. Arguments say since it cannot live outside the womb in the first trimester, the child technically not a person. But again, the unborn won’t become anything else, unless its life is taken from it, it will still become a person. Now, compare babies and children to the unborn infants. Are they deemed anything less than human because they cannot live on their own or fend for themselves at birth? Infants cannot walk or talk or feed themselves, but they are deemed human, just the same for unborn children. They too are human. On a ”Personhood” Initiative in Colorado, which would change the definition of personhood to baby’s in the womb, politician Dave Schultheis said “I think that it’s warranted,” he said. “To me it is unconscionable to deny the fact that life begins at the moment of conception. We all know it deep down and there are too many who continue to resist for ideological reasons.”(The Colorado Independent) Politician Scott Renfroe also commented on the issue saying “I think it is a shame that we have allowed the killing of so many babies over the years. And the science shows assuredly that it is a life and that we should protect it.”(The Colorado Independent) Life begins at conception, and that’s what women realize post-abortion. The rights of citizens are getting taken away with each and every abortion and currently there is nothing we can do about it.

     The rights of the mother seem to be the main argument against pro-life causes but the right of the infant inside gets no justice. Abortion is the termination of a baby. This baby gets no right to vote on abortion laws, but mothers do. They get their life taken away from them before they get the chance to live it. Just in 1996 alone, that is approx. 1.37 million people who could have voted against abortion. There was a commercial that aired during the current “NFL Superbowl” of Tim Tebow, the Heisman winning quarterback of Florida, and his mother. They told a story of how Tim’s mother was urged to get an abortion because the baby’s health and her health were at great risk. She decided not to get one, and the baby and mother came out fine. That potential that could have been lost through that decision could have affected the world in great ways that cannot be conceived now. “They must continue to ascend until they arrive at the good” (lines 58-59) Good is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “good intentions” or “free from infirmity or sorrow”. Where are the good intentions in abortion? Most arguments don’t focus on the baby, but on the mother. One argument is that it puts a burden on the mother. But there are many other options to choose from. Adoption is a viable option, and there are many parents that want children but cannot. Another argument is that they were raped. At Boston College, an article from the school newspaper wrote about a debate on abortion. Dr. John Rankin was arguing the pro-life side and asked “Does an abortion unrape the woman? Does one act of destruction repair another act of destruction?” It creates a cycle of sorrow and destruction with the mother and the baby. Even a baby that was produced from rape, the rapist doesn’t get punished, the baby does. That cannot be good intentions, and that cannot be ethical. A baby conceived from rape is still a baby and can still be put up for adoption either way. And the mother can relinquish responsibility for it if there is no true attachment to it because of rape. Abortion is a selfish act and if it hurts anyone else, then it cannot be truly good.

     “The virtue of wisdom… contains a divine element… is rendered useful and profitable… or hurtful and useless.” This happens with post-abortion women. This is a tragic and traumatic experience that doesn’t seem so at first, but that experience is like going out of the cave, it’s blinding, and after, the now-known experience it’s what was unforeseen and it hurts women, psychologically. Abortion patients don’t see what they are doing is killing a life until after, and that revelation, learned through that experience that what they were doing was wrong. This “seeing the light” hurts them through what they now know. A study taken 8 weeks post-abortion revealed that “44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine”. This disturbs the women, and that a third regret it. In the famous court case “Roe v Wade”, Jane Roe won the right to get an abortion, but even her, in the famous landmark case, she regretted winning and ”she joined an effort called “Operation Rescue.” She has become an outspoken figure in the pro-life movement.” (nysun.com), and tried to overturn the decision. Women believe it’s alright, but they are living in a cave still, and the abortion is the catalyst that frees them from their chains, but for the worse. That revelation that they don’t see and seems good in the present affects the rest of their life. It cannot be ethical if it harms people. Happiness in that one second of judgment does not justify the rest of life in pain. The ultimate good should be the goal in one’s life. Just as something cannot be good if it hurts the people around them, it also cannot be good if it hurts the future selves of them.

     Laws aren’t bad. People see laws as restrictions and hindrances on their rights, but that is not the case. Liberty is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “a right or immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant, permission especially to go freely within specified limits”. These limits make it possible to have freedom to do whatever you want, but with limitations that prevent bad things from happening. The major concern is that lawmakers are stripping rights from women, but in actuality, they are creating a just and hospitable environment for people, which is the object of liberty and what this country was founded upon. In the allegory of the cave, the enlightened person, goes back into the cave, and tries to help turn their reality so they can see what they are truly seeing, just as Roe tried to do. “For they are just men, and the commands we impose on them are just”(lines 64-66) This is what the enlightened man does, he becomes the lawmaker and tries to rule, but they still try to kill the enlightened person. This is a sad truth, they don’t like the regulation even though it is good, and it will create a good environment. Having a ruler and regulations aren’t bad, the allegory of the cave shows that there must be structure that provides and protects the common good, which makes for a better environment. This better environment leads to happiness. Instead of taking away rights like it seems to do, it instead provides the structure to create a better environment, and leads to enlightenment.

     Plato’s ethics came from seeing the light and then coming back down to liberate them from their false reality. But in this case, liberating us from abortion will have to go through pain, since moral logic of good does not seem to win over people’s innate weaknesses. Complete freedom does not free us as a whole, but it stops progress because complete freedom causes chaos with such power to do anything. And what’s set in the heart of people is not always good, and for the unenlightened, they look toward themselves, for themselves. That is why abortion is so popular. Just as Roe regretted it, and the psychological pains that were unforeseen but inevitable, so will all the rest of abortion patients. And the “Silent generation” of people never to let their voices be heard, cannot do anything about it. We need to look at this ethically and stop abortion. Liberty is such a sweet concept to have and work unabashed in this country, but people sometimes fail to see the good of pure liberty because they are clouded by the shadows they see, that false reality that they see is right. There are much more ethical solutions and it shouldn’t take an actual abortion to see that it is wrong.

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1 Comment »

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    Comment by Jackson — February 25, 2015 @ 5:29 AM


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