Life and Death: Abortion and the Death Penalty
Though Abby rejects the application of the death penalty in all instances, she does advocate the permissibility of abortion in the early stages. Despite the seeming contradiction of ethics or morals in these views, AbbyÆs views on abortion and the death penalty are more congruent than they might initially appear. This is because abortion is part of a womanÆs overall reproductive rights, guaranteed by law; while the death penalty is often applied in a biased manner and represents state-sanctioned homicide. The fact that Abby can consistently accept the permissibility of abortion in the early stages of pregnancy while rejecting the death penalty will be addressed in this analysis.
The ethical and moral deliberations involved in the decision of abortion and capital punishment are basically the same, especially with respect to defining personhood and the right to life. As Thomson (p. 66) argues, unless we define the ôfetusö as a ôhuman beingö from the ômoment of conception,ö then a ôvery early abortion is surely not the killing of a person.ö While Thomson is arguing overall that Pro-Life and Pro-Choice arguments are incompatible by nature, this description of early-stage abortion shows that AbbyÆs view on abortion is not advocating the taking of the life of a ôperson.ö In defining ôpersonhood,ö we see the conflict between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice supporters that presents the biggest obstacle with respect to granting right to life.
According to Marquis (p. 184) the typical Pro-Life or anti-abortion argument views the fetus as a ôpersonö from the moment of conception. From this perspective of personhood, anti-abortionists argue 1) the truth of these claims, and 2) establishing any of these claims is sufficient to show that abortion is morally akin to murder, (Marquis, p. 184). However, just because the fetus is programmed with the potential to become a ôpersonö...