Medical Ethics: Abortion

Flashcards by MeetmeinMexico!, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by MeetmeinMexico! about 7 years ago


Flashcards on Medical Ethics: Abortion, created by MeetmeinMexico! on 04/29/2014.

Resource summary

Question Answer
What is abortion? Premature expulsion of the foetus resulting in the death of the foetus.
What was the first abortion Act? 1967 Abortion Act
What were the details of the 1967 Abortion Act? Abortion could take place up to 28 weeks with the consent of two doctors.
What was the second Abortion Act? 1990
What were the details of the second Abortion Act? An abortion could now take place up to twenty four weeks.
What is a spontanious abortion? Where a foetus is lost due to due to accidental trauma rather than purposeful proceduces, sometimes defined as a miscarriage.
What is 'Didache'...? The teaching of the Twelve Apostles
What does the Didache believe? That 'You shall not cause the unborn to perish'.
In 2008, approximately how many abortions took place in England and Wales? 200, 000 abortions. This clashes against particular religious values.
Quotes from religious texts which suggest why abortion is controversial? "You are all equal under the eyes of God." "Be fruitful and increase in number." "God created man in his own image." "The body is a temple of the holy spirit."
What is the 'Sanctity of life'...? The sancity of life is a belief which the Catholic Church have a strong concern with. It is the concept that life begins at the moment of conception, and should continue to grow and develop into a baby because God created this life, and therefore it is precious. To go against God's wish for life would be a sin against him.
Who argues against the Catholic 'Sanctity of life' belief? Philosophers and feminists who posess a more secluar view, and most of modern society who are widely non-religious.
What does Mary Anne Warren believe? The right to life has a strict set of criteria and this can only be made by the 'personhood' criteria. Furthermore, she states that people shouldn't confuse the physical development and growth of a foetus with its moral status.
What is personhood? A beings capabilities which defines its right to life.
What are the criteria to personhood? ability to reason, the ability to communicate, self-motivated activity, consciousness and the presence of self-concepts
What did Mary Anne Warren say concerning the foetus's right to life? That it has as much right to life as 'a new born guppy.'
In Mary Anne Warren's opinion, why isn't abortion murder? Biologically it might be human, though Warren believes this is separate to a foetus’s right to life and therefore abortion is simply the expulsion of cells rather than murder.
What did Michael Tooley say? We must differenciate between the species homosapiens. A foetus is completely seperate to that and doesn't simply earn the right to life, just by technically being human or potentially human.
Michael Tooley quote? Foetus's do not have a 'serious right to life'- alike to Mary Anne Warren's belief.
What did Judith Thomson base her argument on? From developing medical ethics and maintaining the principles of women’s rights.
What else did Judith Thomson say? In her 1971 paper she claims that abortion is a justified killing
How did Judith Thomson describe the foetus? She described the foetus as the 'invader', and believes that it is perfectly within a woman's right to remove that invader. She also described the pregnant woman as the landlord, and the foetus as the 'tennant'. She states that it is the landlord's right to evict the tennant.
What else does she say? Thomson states that a woman doesn't have to be a 'good samaritan', and that she has the right to get rid of the foetus through the 'right of self defence'.
Faults of Mary Anne Warren's argument? There are numerous people who cannot meet the personhood criteria; such as the disabled, who are unable to communicate, reason, or become self aware. Also, babies and toddlers cannot meet the personhood criteria, which faults the argument because no one could ever justify killing a baby. Although they cannot meet the criteria, they are certainly defined as people who deserve the right to life.
The faults of Michael Tooley's arguments? Similar to the faults of Mary Anne Warren's argument; babies or the disabled might not have self-awareness or posess the ability to communicate. However, they are included in society and it wouldn't be justified to end their lives.
Another fault of Warren's argument? Warren’s criteria are too linked too biological brain function rather than emotion, making it too narrow and secular. Also, she doesn’t take into account the difference between an early foetus and a more developed foetus; where there is a larger amount of brain activity. She also fails to define when life begins and ends- does a baby earn the right to life at birth? Or is there a particular point during the pregnancy where a foetus becomes living?
What does Peter Singer say? He stated that the principle of the sancitity of life should become more secular. The concept of personhood should be defined by what you desire; life or death. His argument is partly Utilitarianist, because Singer explains that a course of action should be swayed by what you most want. The foetus is unable to present desires or even understand its future, so doesn't have the right to live.
What are the faults of Singer's arguments? Like Warren's and Tooley's argument, it is faulted because particular members of society just cannot grasp the concept of their future, or communicate their desires; such as toddlers or the disabled.
The strengths of Warren's arguments? Her arguments offer an alternative to those who reject the sanctity of life. She points out the differences between the biological development of a foetus and a right to life which is defined by a person's experiences. Also, she offers a guilt-free justification for abortion, which non-religious women could find useful.
Warren's quote? that a foetus’s cannot overrule the right of women at any stage of the pregnancy’.
The faults in Judith Thomson's arguments? She describes the foetus as an 'invader' which suggests that the foetus is malicious and intent on hurting the potential mother. Furthermore, she is faulted in describing the woman as the land-lord and the foetus as the tennant; his suggests that the foetus has chosen to 'take residence' with this woman while it couldn't be avoided by the foetus. Furthermore, she describes the relationship between mother and child as impersonal; when they share dna, where the woman is the potential Mother to a potential child.
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