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Understanding Morality Term Paper

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Understanding morality term paper

Leung Ka Yan 4180937

Abortion means the termination of pregnancy through getting a fetus or embryo of before it can survive outside the matrix. Spontaneous abortion is also understood as miscarriage. Purposed abortion is called induced abortion, or "induced miscarriage" with less frequency. This is the common understanding that people have towards the word of abortion. Ending of pregnancy is carried out after the fetus could survive outside the uterus potentially is known as a "late termination of pregnancy", but not abortion(Abortion, 2017)

According to “Why Abortion Is Immoral” wrote by Don Marquis, abortion deprives the fetus of their future. As mentioned in the passage, “Fetuses seem to be like arbitrarily chosen single human cells in some respects and like adult humans in other aspects”(Journal of Philosophy, 1989, p.201). In Marquis’s thesis, killing adult human beings is immoral because it deprives them of their future. So, if abortion also deprives the fetus of their future, abortion is immoral. This claim is found as valid, and therefore it is believable that abortion is immoral when talking about depriving the future with the premise of a fetus is a human being. However, abortion is still required to discuss in different areas in this paper in order to find out it is moral or not. Before starting the discussion, it is important to define a fetus is a human being or not. If it is a human being, than abortion equals to murdering. Being a murder is absolutely immoral because no one can dispose others’ rights of survive. Therefore, anti-abortionists argue that fetus has to be regarded as an example of human being and killing an innocent human being is morally wrong to support aborting is an example of killing and terminating a human being’s life. So, committing abortion is morally wrong. However, it is difficult to decide a fetus is a human being or not because it can either be a human being, a potential human being or just skin texture, depends on different situation. Mr Lo thought that a fetus was not an actual human being but it was a potential human being and its value is higher than skin texture, so, abortion is allowed under rape pregnancy as well as pregnancy is harm to mother’s health (as cited in Candlelight Network Vol.47, 2006, p.11). Since there were different periods in the pregnancy, a fetus is not a human being when it was fertilized ovum, but it will become a human being in the later stage. Also, someone suggested to use brain wave to judge whether the fetus is a human being or not because the medical field also uses the brain wave to detect death. Some may argue that it is just a lower animal when its early brain wave can be detected, its value cannot compare with a human being. Moreover, others think that the fetus can be judged as a human being after the fetal movement can be felt by the pregnant. But, it is also true that the fetus is keep moving after fertilization. In addition, someone thinks that the fetus is a human being after the fetus can still survive if it is removed from the matrix, because this means the fetus is self-reliable and it does not need to rely on the mother anymore. However, this claim is totally relies on the medical technology. It formed a question on whether a fertilized embryo can also be defined as a human being after the technology can make them survive. Above are many ways that people use to define a fetus is a human being or not, we can see that it is difficult to judge because disagreement are derived in different ways. However, we can conclude that abortion is same as murdering if a fetus is a human being, so, abortion is morally wrong and can only be done under some circumstances. In other words, abortion is morally right if a fetus is not a human being.

Then, this paper is going to talk about abortion is morally right or wrong from Utilitarianism and Virtue Theory.


First of all, abortion can be determined as right or wrong from the point of Utilitarianism. Under Utilitarianism, an action is right if it maximizes the amount of value and the only value is happiness.

From the sight of anti-abortionists, abortion is wrong because it cannot maximize the amount of value but also create so many sufferings to the world. Firstly, many babies are killed in the current situation. According to "Abortion incidence between 1990 and 2014: global, regional, and subregional levels and trends", around 56 million abortions are performed each year in the world(The Lancet, 2016). We can see that the problem of killing babies is severe. Then, abortion will become a common practice if more and more babies are killed. Not only babies are killed, some pregnants are also being killed in the process of unsafe abortions, like performed by unskilled individuals, with hazardous equipment, or in unsanitary facilities, cause 47,000 deaths every year, which is equals to 45 percent of performed abortions , as mentioned by the "Worldwide, an estimated 25 million unsafe abortions occur each year"(World Health Organization, 2017).This will cause people becoming unhappy when they live in the country which always has people being killed, even they are just babies, because no one want to see others died. Moreover, it will cause pain towards babies if the abortion is carried out after they can feel the pain. Secondly, mothers may have compunction on abortion instead of being happy on losing a baby. Some pregnants may not want to have the abortion but the reality forces them to do so, it is normal that some families do not have enough ability to raise up a baby in different areas. In this case, the family will choose abortion to ensure the living quality of other members. However, the family still want to have the baby and they will always feel sorry to the unborn baby. This type of abortion does not make people feel happy in anyway, but only sufferings. Under Utilitarianism, an action is wrong if it cannot maximize values, so, abortion is morally wrong.



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