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Marquis’ Argument against Abortion Essay

Don Marquis was against abortion and in his view abortion is wrong as he equates it with the murder of an adult and by doing so, the person is denied the chance to go through life and have a future. The fact that the life has been taken away will rob the person of a chance to have a “future like ours”(FLO), therefore he claims that this fact is enough to prove that taking away someone else’s life is wrong. In that sense therefore, the murder of unborn babies is just as wrong despite that they not already persons.

He says that when people understand why it is wrong to kill a human being, it will be easy to realize that abortion is not right because it is basically the same thing as murder (Berkey, 2009). Marquis was right in his claims of denying the person a future because by taking someone’s life the person will not be able to have a future. The chance to have a FLO is important and it is something that everyone should put in mind. However, there are certain views that he aired that are contradictory.

He says that the reason behind the action can be justified only if the consequence of not aborting would be just as great as the fetus not getting a chance to have his future. Marquis however, does not distinguish between murder and letting die, and does not consider that the mother may decide to abort without malice (Berkey, 2009). In his view, the difference between action and intention is vague and he does not clearly define the difference.

His opinion on what it is that makes the action of taking another persons life wrong lies in the fact that it interferes with the type of life that the person would have had in future because the person will now not have a future. According to Marquis, a fetus’ life should not be terminated because when that happens, it would thwart the possibility of the fetus enjoying a future like ours. By not carrying the baby to term, we avert his enjoyment of the future (Berkey, 2009).

According to Marquis, when a woman gives birth to the baby, then the possibility of a future is almost always guaranteed, by not preventing abortion we fail to allow the possibility of a good future that would have been realized had the baby lived. The ethical thought of the fetus having the right to life and qualifying to be protected as compared to an ovum and a sperm is quite controversial, what warrants the fetus the right to protection and not the latter two?

The emphasis on the difference between advocating for the unborn baby’s life to be saved or to be terminated is quite unclear, Marquis’ stresses on the need to distinguish the two almost proves that he does not want to get into the argument that people need to have children as a matter of moral obligation (Berkey, 2009). Don Marquis in his view on abortion claims that the murder of an adult is not right as it robs them of a future, an unborn baby’s future entails all the aspects of a future that an adult has, his argument is that the when born, the baby will grow into an adult and therefore his future is important.

Abortion of the embryo in that sense robs him of his future, just like the future of an adult is important; murder interferes with his future and is wrong, abortion is equally wrong as it is no different from murder (Strong, 2008). Marquis’ aimed at recognizing why it was not right to kill an adult and to determine whether the same case applied to the termination of the unborn babies, if it is wrong to kill an adult, then isn’t it just as wrong to kill a fetus since by doing so they are denied a chance to go through life and its experiences.

He says that they are denied a “future like ours” which he also says is a “future of value”, that makes the action immoral as it is the same with murder of an adult who is not guilty (Strong, 2008). There has been some opposition by some critics which he responded to, although he does not comprehensively defend his views against criticism.

His view on the future like ours is criticized because although he gives his opinion on the fetus being denied a “future like ours” and the issue of morality being of great consideration, in his argument, he does not put into consideration the issue of the pregnant woman and the fact that she has a right to make a choice on what she wants to do, after all the issue affects her body, therefore she is entitled to make decisions concerning her body. Marquis in his defense said that the critics had gotten the wrong idea about his views; in his opinion abortion was wrong because it was the same with killing an adult.

He further says that there is need for rational thinking in the issue of abortion and that abortion can only be carried out only in special conditions (Strong, 2008). There were critics who claimed that there is no evidence that proves that the fetus would have grown and would have had the same kind of future that an adult has, this means that in the critics opinion, the fetus is not a being, as compared to an adult who is a whole being, and that they are not the same at all.

Adults have already had experiences that make them beings having undergone psychological experiences. Marquis however said that despite that the fetus and an adult are not the same there is no evidence to prove that the fetus can not identify with personhood and self that an adult can relate to, after all, they are both physical beings (Strong, 2008). According to marquis, the killing of an adult is wrong despite the fact that the adult may not enjoy a future like ours.

The use of contraceptives is equally wrong as it denies the possibility of conception. He talks of abortion being permissible only under special situations, what he does not seem to realize however is that when a woman finds herself pregnant, and she does not want to have the baby, it is wrong to urgue that she should not abort but equally argue that it is right if she had taken the pill earlier to prevent the possibility of conception.

It is possible that marquis would be against the taking of the pill that results into the uterus being uninhabitable place for the fetus and therefore the fetus does not get a chance to develop (Berkey, 2009). There are many questions that arise from the taking of a pill; can it be described as termination of a fetus? Does the woman in this case kill the potential fetus willingly without giving it a chance to develop into a baby?

If so, what is the difference between the woman who takes the pill and averts the possibility of getting pregnant, and another one who doesn’t take the pill on time or takes the pill but it does not work, therefore she gets pregnant and then decides to abort. Both women are almost the same when the issue of morality comes into play because they both knowingly decided not to have the baby (Berkey, 2009). Marquis however said that through contraceptives, there is no being that is denied a future like ours.

Despite that the fetus is a being like the adult it grows into, an ovum and sperms or even the joining of the two can not be considered to be a person as opposed to a fetus that results from the two. However, his explanation on a future like ours does not give details on why it is not right to kill an adult and also why it is wrong to kill human beings in general and especially the children who are born with terminal illnesses and they undergo euthanasia, these children would not have had a future like ours, can it therefore be considered wrong to kill these children (Strong, 2008).

Works Cited Berkey, Brian. Phil 108: Marquis on Abortion. February, 2009. Retrieved on May 15, 2010 <http://brianberkey. blogspot. com/2009/02/phil-108-marquis-on-abortion. html> Strong, C. A critique of “the best secular argument against abortion”. 2008. Retrieved on May 14, 2010 <http://jme. bmj. com/content/34/10/727. full>


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