The paper critically analyses the work of Mary Ann Warren. This is on the basis of an essay she wrote titled, "on the moral and legal status of abortion". The essay summarizes what the work is all about and brings forth the meaning of her work. Additionally, my paper gives a brief history of Mary Anne Warren.
History of Marry Ann Warren
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Mary Ann Warren was born on August 17, 1946. She is an American writer who is well known for her work particularly abortion. Mary was a professor of philosophy. She taught for many years in the University of San Francisco State University. Her works which were anthological have been frequently cited and adequately used in academic causes (Warren, 2).
More often than not, Mary was described as a being a feminist, this is attributed to her choice of using pro-choice in her writings. She wrote literature on sex selection and also animal treatment. Mary Warren died on 9 August 2010 at the age of 63 years. The cause of her death is has not been disclosed since then.
Summary of her work and meaning
In her article, "on the moral and legal status of abortion" Mary addresses the issue of abortion which is a very controversial issue. Her work critically evaluates the works of John T and Judith Jarvis and analyzes the morality and legality of abortion. According to her, a fetus she considers not be a human being and for that reason it is not proper to ascribe it full moral right (Warren, in Munson, 80). Thus she holds the opinion that abortion on demand is justified.
In her quest to address the biological and moral question about a fetus being human, she brought forth the following characteristics to give membership in the moral community. These include; consciousness and potential to feel pain, potential to think, and potential to take actions in a manner that is far beyond instinct that is having motives and goals, the ability to have complex communication and finally possessing the ability to have sense of one self.
It is interesting to note what Warren believed. She held that for one to be a human being, the issue of biology is of no significance. Her argument for abortion is that more women often die for the simple reason that abortion is illegal. She thus disputes the issue that murder is wrong. Secondly her argument for abortion is that women opt to have control over their own body.
Her work is clearly divided into two sections; one is where she compares a fetus and a human being. Second section is where she brings argument against considering a fetus as part of the moral community. She holds the opinion that a fetus does not meet the standards of personhood and for this reason it is not a member of the moral community.
She believes although Thomson held that fetus had full moral right, there are instances where abortion needs to be permitted not only to save the woman live but also for other reasons such as rape. Warren disputes the fact that the moral right of an abortion is not inclined on the manner with which a woman got pregnant. What this means that a woman is not to commit her self to carrying a fetus for nine month just because she did not take pills.
Similarly, she challenged how Noonan defined human. In her argument, she held that moral community need to be defined as that which entails all and only people instead of all and only human. This is cited in the five criteria mentioned earlier. Not possessing at least one of those characteristics thus one fails to be a person. According to her, if a person does not have the entire five criterions, and is being considered a person, this is confusion with a genetic munity. Warren goes further to argue that those people that there consciousness is damaged, defective or fetus are not to be considered persons and thus are not guaranteed full moral rights ascribed to other persons.
According Steinbock, (33) she argues that a fetus that is seven or eight months is not more person than an embryo. Thus the rights of such a fetus should not supersede the right of a woman to terminate the pregnancy. Warren also brings forth that as a result of drugs that can induce labor, the issue of those saying that abortion is risky to a woman no longer hold. Additionally, she says that immorality is not an issue in situations where a woman is to abort.
She ends her article with a quote, "the laws which restrict the right to obtain an abortion, or limit the period of pregnancy during an abortion may be performed, are a wholly unjustified violation of a woman's most basic moral and constitutional right" (Warren in Munson, 88)
In my opinion I think that in order for us to arrive at a conclusion satisfactorily about abortion addressing its morality and legality, there is need to come up with an agreement that will be universally accepted concerning the five characteristic Warren brought forth. Unless this is done and the status of the fetus determined, the controversies issues surrounding abortion still will be on.
Mary Warren was born in 1946 and died in August 2010 at 63 years, her cause of death not being disclosed. She was a philosophy professor at the San Francisco State University for many years; she is renown about her work in abortion.
In her argument, she was of the opinion that a fetus is not considered a person on the basis of her five characteristics which include consciousness and potential to feel pain, potential to think, and potential to take actions in a manner that is far beyond instinct that is having motives and goals, the ability to have complex communication and finally possessing the ability to have sense of one self. Thus a woman should have unlimited access to abortion.
In my view, I believe that for us to solve the controversies surrounding abortion there is need to universally agree on issues of Mary characteristics she brought forth.