Is Abortion Wrong – An Article by Boonin and Oddie

IsAbortion Wrong – An Article by Boonin and Oddie

Abortionis an argumentative topic that encompasses conflicting views andarguments from philosophical literatures. The proponents of abortionsee it as taking the life of a being or denying survival of a personwho is about to mature and lead a normal life (Boonin and Oddie 73).The opponents provoke the anti-abortionists positionseen it assymptoms of irrational religious dogmas and beliefs. Mostly academicscholars, abortion should not be considered wrong since terminationof pregnancy is morally justifiable because the fetus has notattained the ‘status and worth’ of a person or a living being.Above pro-actioners also believe that sometimes abortion is necessaryif it threatens the life of the mother or others. This analysisexamines an article published by David Boonin and Graham Oddie[What’sWrong: Applied Ethicists and their Critics]on whether abortion is immoral.

Presentationof Arguments

Aprincipal area examined by above scholars is the analysis of abortionin part 1, chapter 3 of their work. The two discuss a range ofphilosophical views with regard to abortion creating knowledge on theimmorality of the act, and the confusing convictions by abortionists.The article begins by examining the philosophical perspective sharedby Don Marquis which views abortion as morally impermissible and onethat robs a being of its life and future. Marquis views the flaw intaking the life of an immature fetus as wrong because it involveskilling a being with absolute rights to life (Marquis 184). Takinglife contradicts set moral principles and guidelines because it robsliving things off their future which is more similar to ours.

Theprocess of termination of a pregnancy leading to abortion equals theprocess of taking life of a living being particularly a person.However, as Boonin and Oddie would argue,most secular institutions ofhigher learning view anti-abortion positions and practices assymptoms of irrational religious beliefs and dogmas (Boonin and Oddie24). They are also conclusions derived by seriously confusedphilosophical assertions. The immorality of abortion takes root whenone imagines the freedom of life and the right to live a fulfillingfuture. Life is formed from the biological fusing and maturation ofmale sperm and the female ovum. The two give rise to what can betermed as the biological‘genesis of life’ for any living organismincluding man. Scientists hold that a vast majority of abortions arenot conducted to save the life of the mother or to further anycritically substantial course. They are merely conducted to save acouple the humiliation and to preserve their dignity (Johnston 14).Most abortions are also conducted since parents believe they were notready to raise a child due to the absence of a unifying factorbetween them.

Booninand Oddie article on the immorality of abortion takes shape when theyexamine two other philosophical perspectives driven by Gerald Paskeand Peter McAnarney. The former believes in the neo-natal right tolife whereby every being is entitled to free existence from the timeof birth throughout life and even as they approach death. Thephilosophical argument against abortion supports that most fetusesare terminated at the time of birth or way before they possesssimilar capacities to life. They harbor unmatched potential andcapabilities to successfully mature, assume the form of a kid,progress through childhood and later transform into adults.Destroying a fetus is therefore denying a potential being the rightto life and cutting its chances of survival.

Objectionsand Counter-arguments

Whilemost scholars view abortion as morally upright since the fetus hasnot attained the ideal status of a person, above views arebiologically and ethically flawed. Scientists and physicians havegone ahead to judge the morality or immorality of the act based onindividuals giving birth, and choices of parents as opposed to theideal moral standing. Most times, those conducting clinical abortionside with the view of the parents to carry abortion because theybelieve the mother and the father have an exclusive decision in thelife of the fetus (Schwarz et al. 13). Human rights advocate for freeand fair livelihoods and barn attempts to end life. Such frameworksstrongly consider abortion as immoral since the process seeks to endlife illegitimately. From a personal perspective, abortion is morallyimpermissible because life is present from the time of conceptionbecause fetuses possess similar characteristics as those of a normalbaby. One of these is the genetic code that is both sufficient andnecessary for being a human (Boonin and Oddie 43).

Albeitmany proponents of abortion believe that fetuses are not socialbeings, persons or rational agents, I am strongly convinced thatfetuses possess life. Their biological tendency to consume food andto display a plethora of characteristics similar to man render themof equal value as other human beings. A principal moral obligation isto nurture life, regardless of its form, and to constantly provideconditions and environments for survival and existence. Abortionconflicts many fundamental aspects of biology and science as it tendsto use risky means of eliminating the fetus from a human body(Johnstone 14). What is worse is that selected abortions have provento cause the death of both the unborn and the mother. This brings meto the third conviction why abortion is ethically flawed and morallyinsufficient. The fact that abortion threatens the very existence ofthe mother raises questions about its legitimacy.

Assessmentvia Arguments

Basically,conditions and environments that do not favor human existence arewidely disregarded and provoked in the society. Some of them arepunishable by law through sentencing and death.The fact that abortionputs the life of the mother at risk equals to a crime, dangerousspeeding, or any other act that is punishable by law. Albeit hard toquantify risk, it is mature supposition to note that abortion is nota safe practice and apart from aiming to terminate pregnancy, itjeopardizes a second person with life and the freedom to exist.

Theright to life is well documented by well-known and morally guidingprinciples as the ‘prima-facie wrong of taking life’. Also, it isprima-facie morally wrong to take the life of a baby (Boonin andOddie 32). Most pro-choicers [the proponents of abortion] supporttheir views as ‘it is wrong to take the life of the member of thecommunity/society.’ They will also back their arguments with theassertion that ‘being a person is what gives people an intrinsicworth.’ This analysis notes that regardless of being a member ofthe society and assuming the shape and features of a person,termination of pregnancy equals to any other wrong. The fetus is a‘life’ from the moment of conception and given the rightconditions and environments, will culminate into human form andtherefore attain an absolute human worth. An action or act that seeksto degrade the quality of life or stop it altogether,is morallyquestionable and conflicts every aspect of ethics (Schwarz 18).


DavidBoonin and Graham Oddie article creates knowledge on what can beconsidered as morally upright with regard to abortion. Of specialconcern for the article was to rely on the views of philosophicalliterature including those written by Marquis, Paske, and McAnarney.The perspectives of philosophical experts combined with well phrasedethical arguments gives life to the article on why abortion ismorally impermissible. The paper has gone further to give a personalperspective on a range of arguments. It reveals that taking the lifeof a fetus contravenes set moral principles because the processthreatens the life of the mother and takes the ‘life’ inherent inthe unborn. The above analysis surmises the paper creating knowledgeand adding insight on Boonin and Oddie article on abortion.


Boonin,David, and Graham Oddie. What`sWrong? Applied Ethicists and Their Critics.New York: Oxford Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.

Boonin,David, and Graham Oddie. What`sWrong?: Applied Ethicists and Their Critics.New York, N.Y: Oxford university press, 2005. Print.

Johnston,George F. Abortionfrom the Religious and Moral Perspective: An Annotated Bibliography.Westport, Conn: Praeger Pub, 2003. Print.

Schwarz,Stephen D, and Kiki Latimer. UnderstandingAbortion: From Mixed Feelings to Rational Thought.Lanham: Lexington Books, 2012. Print.