Nick Poch Social Issues 11-6-98 Abortion Abortion is one of the most controversial issues discussed in today's society. This issue has caused a great deal of turmoil in the world. Some protestors have even killed other human beings over the issue. People's religion has had some input on this issue, but this should not be the only factor when looking at this serious controversial debate. There are many questions that one must ask him or herself when deciding to be either for or against abortion. In this position paper I am going to talk about some issues that may not be black and white. My position on this issue is against abortion, and I am going to attempt to show that. Abortion is wrong in many instances. It is wrong anytime except in the case of a dying mother, incest or rape. It is wrong because people choose to have sex. They know the consequences before they had sex. For example, a person is playing Russian Roulette. This person knows that there is a possibility that they may die from this. In the case of pregnancy, the people that choose to have sex, they know that there is a chance at getting pregnant. The people that have an abortion when they have become pregnant by there own choice, not by incest, rape or threatening the mother's life, are using it as a birth control method, which is wrong. One of the major issues is determining whether or not the fetus is a person, and if so, when? My view is that it becomes a person at the time of conception. At that specific time, it has 46 chromosomes and is determined whether or not is it going to be a boy or girl. Furthermore, all other characteristics are decided at that moment. One of the issues discussed in class was the time of conception. A point mentioned in class was that any time a sperm or egg was destroyed or killed, then abortion was occurring, for example, masturbation or menstruation. The point that is trying to be made is that if killing the fetus at conception is wrong, which has potential to be a person, then killing the things that have potential to become a person, like sperm and eggs, is wrong also. I do not agree with this point. My reasoning is the sperm or egg does not have all 46 chromosomes, it has only half. Half of the chromosomes does not make a person. Alone, the sperm or egg cannot become a person, but at the time of conception it is possible. I cannot sufficiently rebut the idea of the potentiality of the sperm or egg. I do understand that these both have the potential to become a person. A point related to the previous one is the use of contraceptives. The use of contraceptives brings up the issue of why aren't these as wrong as an abortion. This raises again the idea of the potentiality of a person. As I previously mentioned, I do not see something with half of the chromosomes needed to become a human, a human. John Noonan says that the fetus is a person, therefore it is wrong to kill it. The problem with this is that all people do not believe a fetus is a person, therefore it is okay to kill it. For example, Mary Anne Warren does not believe the fetus is a person. She thinks that there are certain traits or characteristics that an organism must have in order to be characterized as a person. These are: (1) "consciousness (of objects and events external and /or internal to the being), and in particular the capacity to feel pain; (2) reasoning (the developed capacity to solve new and relatively complex problems); (3) self motivated activity (activity which is relatively independent of either genetic of direct external control); (4) the capacity to communicate, by whatever means, messages of an indefinite variety of types, that is, not just with an indefinite number of possible contents, but on indefinitely many possible topics; (5) the presence of self-concepts, and self awareness, either individual or racial, or both." The problem with these traits as determining the time at which a fetus becomes a person is that these traits describe things that are not just human, but also children that are two and three years of age. For instance, these characteristics say that a new born baby that is alive and breathing on its own, is not a person and therefore it is okay to kill it. This seems highly ludicrous to say that a new born baby is not a person. Also, as I said before, these traits include other things than the species Homosapiens. I am referring to the monkeys, chimpanzees or gorillas. I do not see these animals as humans, even though many scientists believe that we evolved from monkey or chimps. There is also evidence of monkeys or chimps speaking to other humans. This is a whole other issue. Regardless of whether or not these chimps are our ancestors, which I believe not to be these characteristics may also characterize other organisms to be humans. Another issue raised is who has more right to life or right to choose, the mother or the potential baby. I have no complete feeling about this issue because I have not researched it enough to come to an educated decision. I do lean toward the right of a fetus. I can see the opposition's view though. Why should some potential human being be able to tell me or anyone else what to do? I do think that they should have some say in there own life. Although, in the case of a mother dying if she continues on with the pregnancy, I do not see a problem with terminating the pregnancy. I do believe that they should explore all the options first.

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