The topic of partial-birth abortion remains controversial in U.S. society. In November, 2003, President Bush signed a historic ban on partial-birth abortions (President p. 1). Those in favor of partial-birth abortions maintain that they are performed humanely, and that the fetus is usually dead before being pulled from the motherÆs womb. Those opposed to partial-birth abortions maintain that they are cruel and hurt the fetus. Those in favor of partial-birth abortions claim they are necessary to help protect the life of the mother, while those opposed to them argue they are a violation of the fetusÆs rights to life.
If we look at the views of Aristotle, we see that the philosopher would argue in favor of partial-birth abortions. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that the individual is the sole author of an act or a choice. One can elect to reshape and refashion oneÆs acts and choices on a case-by-case basis. A just state in this view is one that permits freedom of choice for individuals, ôNow each man judges well the things he knows, and of these he is a good judge,ö (Aristotle Book I.3). However, the ban on partial-birth abortion takes away the freedom of action for individuals, even when the mother makes the decision to have one because having the baby would put her life at risk. Therefore, a ban on partial-birth abortion does not represent a just state.
If we look at the views of Plato, we see that the philosopher would argue in favor of the ban on partial-birth abortions. This is because in The Republic, Socrates argues in favor of the authoritarian state in which individual liberties or freedoms were subject to control by guardians and rulers seeking the best interest of both individuals and the state. The rulers of the state are to exercise authority capable of ôraising the eye of the soul to the universal light which lights all things and beholds the absolute good