Why Abortion Is Immoral - Don Marquis (Elena Jones)

By Don Marquis
According to Marquis, killing a
being with a right to life is seriously
morally wrong because it robs such
a being of its future
Purpose of the Article
“The purpose of this essay is to
undermine the general belief. This essay
sets out an argument that purports to
show, as well as any argument in ethics
can show, that abortion is, except
possibly in rare cases, seriously
immoral, that it is in the same moral
category as killing an innocent adult
human being”
If a mother chose to abort her unwanted
child and robbed that child of his/her
future, you would never know what that
child would have been capable of
 President?
 CEO?
 Movie Star?
In the beginning of his argument he
explains the typical arguments for prochoicers and antiabortionists
 However, he shows that both sides
show weakness and are hard to control
Antiabortionists say…
Fetus’s typically contain the same features as adult humans
 Example life is present from the moment f conception or
that fetuses look like babies or that fetuses possess a
characteristic such as a genetic code that is both
necessary and sufficient for being human
Pro-choicers say…
Fetus’s lack the features necessary for
mental existence
• Example fetuses are not persons or
that fetuses are not rational agents or
that fetuses are not social beings
What is wrong with killing?
When someone kills someone else it
deprives that someone of everything
that he or she would have valued if their
life ha not been prematurely ended
 Among those things would be goals,
achievements, completed projects,
relationships, experiences, etc.
The victim values change as life goes
on. Therefore, not only is he or she
deprived of what they currently valued
but what they will come to value in the
Think of..
The best day of your life
 Your favorite vacation
 Your best friend
 Your first date
These are some of the things Marquis
says you would be deprived of.
Supported by 2 Considerations
1.) This theory explains why we regard
killing as one of the worst crimes
2.) People with AIDS and cancer that know
they are dying believe that dying is very
bad for them and that the loss of a future
to them, that they would have otherwise
experienced, is what makes premature
death a bad thing for them.
Always Immortal?
Marquis points out the abortion is not
always immoral
 If a person is extremely ill and cannot be
cured and will only face a future filled
with pain it is okay
Because fetuses cannot value their own
futures, they are of no value to them
 A being can’t have a right to life unless it
expressly desires it’s own existence and
since fetuses do not value in such a way
they cannot have a right to life
Marquis’s Response
Marquis argues that just because a
being does not currently value or desire
something, it doesn’t mean that the thing
is not valuable to or desirable to that
Critics say if Marquis’s theory is correct
than contraception must be immoral.
 Marquis responds by saying nothing is
wrong with presumptively wrong with
contraception because no determinate
being is deprived of the future value.

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