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Three Positions on Abortion

The abortion controversy is the contemporary moral debate that simply will not die, and opposing ideas of the issue seem totally irreconcilable. Although the United States Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade made legal access to abortion the law of the land as of 1973, the war of words that preceded the decision has dogged it in a variety of ways since that time. Because the abortion decision is weighted with moral and cultural as well as psychological predicates, dramatically antagonistic perspectives of abortion as such and the decision for abortion inform debate on the issue. The abortion debate is not confined to opinion holders and makers or even to pregnant women but rather has implications for public policy and those who face the decision. The purpose of this research is to examine the debate with a view toward identifying the basis of various positions as deontological, utilitarian, or based on virtue ethics. The plan of the research will be to address the issue fronts of opposing sides and the manner in which the debate is played out.

The basis on which antiabortion arguments are made seems relatively easy to identify. According to Randall Lake, antiabortion argumentation is a critique of the human moral condition characterized as a negation of social Order and Hierarchy. Anti-abortion discourse, he says, "relies explicitly and implicitly on theology and deontology for the content and form of its arguments" (426). Lake is highly critical of that approach to argumentation on the issue, noting that it "is grounded in alleged sexual Guilt; it victimizes women, and it posits childbearing and legislating against abortion as twin paths to Redemption" (426). Lake references deontology in characterizing antiabortion argumentation as seeking to impose a duty on pregnant women to carry unwanted children to term and of asserting a moral obligation to the fetus and to the moral order in general. "Deontological system...

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Three Positions on Abortion. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 09:12, April 22, 2019, from