Mary Anne Warren Abortion Analysis

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Of the many moral issues that exist, abortion is one that is often found under fire. Abortion, which is this paper will refer to the end of a pregnancy be means of killing the fetus, is heavily debated as it can invoke religious sentiments as well as ethics. In 1973, Mary Anne Warren wrote an article titled, “On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion.” Her article was met with major criticism, prompting her to add a postscript in 1982, addressing some of the issues her opposers found. Even with the postscript, many still weren't satisfied, and, obviously, the issue of abortion remains. In this paper I will argue that Warren's postscript addresses some of the concerns laid out by critics while also further complicating the issue. I will then…show more content…
She starts by explaining the difference between a fetus and an infant, using birth as the distinguishing feature between the two, “Thus, while the moment of birth may not mark any sharp discontinuity in the degree to which an infant possesses a right to life, it does mark the end of the mother's absolute right to determine its fate,”(Warren 73). Once the fetus has been born, it is no longer a threat to the mother, so the mother loses the complete control over its existence that she previously had. Warren further explains herself by adding that if a late-term abortion can be done in a way that wouldn't kill the fetus, the mother doesn't have full rights to insist it's death. Additionally, if there are others ready to adopt and care for the infant, killing the infant would deprive them of the happiness they could experience. Prior to a fetus being viable, meaning it could survive outside the mother, the mother's right to her protect her health and life outweighs the desire of others to adopt an infant, but once the fetus is born and no longer presents any threats to the mother, the desire of others to adopt the infant becomes the priority. After making this distinction, Warren goes on in an attempt to prove that infanticide isn't always morally wrong, citing other cultures where infants may be killed if their continued existence threatens that of “existing persons”, or infants…show more content…
Still using Warren's five criteria as the mark of a complete moral human, I would argue that an individual who possesses all five characteristics would be an actual moral human. Considering the complexity of the characteristics, they're not something a person can develop in a day, so it's fair to say that an individual would develop these traits over time. With that in mind, I would propose that the principle of potentiality and actuality exists on a spectrum, and that as an individual ages, gaining experience and the qualities set up by Warren, they move from the potential to the actual. When a fetus becomes viable and is either born, or a late-term abortion can be conducted in which the fetus will live, that individual has progressed on the spectrum toward being an actual moral human, meaning it would have higher moral status than an unborn, not viable fetus, therefore providing a distinction that would make killing an infant more wrong than than killing a

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