Friday, January 15, 2021

Quiz on Arguments Against Abortion

If people argue passionately for a position on a controversial issue, they really should "know what they are talking about," so to speak, even if they aren't an expert. (If they don't have this understanding, they might approach the issue as if they are member of a cult). To check to see if someone, including you, understands some of the main ethical arguments about abortion, this quiz below could be useful. There are many arguments below. The quiz is this:

  1. For each premise of each argument, first explain why someone might think that the premise is true and then why someone would think it is false: what would their reasons be for both? 
  2. For each premise, then explain whether it really is true or false; also explain what misunderstanding or lack of understanding might lead someone to mistakenly think the premise is true (when it is false) or false (when it is really true). 

Here's the quiz, covering some arguments against abortion:

Abortion is typically (or prima facie) wrong because:

  1. Fetuses are alive: “life” begins at conception. All living things are typically wrong to kill. (What do you mean by “life”?)
  2. Fetuses are biologically alive: biological “life” begins at conception. All biologically living things are typically wrong to kill.
  3. Fetuses are human. All things that are human are wrong to kill. (What do you mean by “human”?)
  4. Fetuses are biologically human. All things that are biologically human are wrong to kill. 
  5. Fetuses are “cognitively human”: they can think, feel and reason in “human” ways. All things that are cognitively human can think, feel and reason in “human” ways are prima facie or typically wrong to kill. 
  6. Fetuses are biologically human organisms. All biologically human organisms are prima facie or typically wrong to kill.
  7. Fetuses are persons. (What are “persons?) All persons are prima facie wrong to kill. 
  8. Fetuses have valuable futures. If something has a valuable future, then it’s prima facie wrong to kill it and prevent it from experiencing that valuable future. 
  9. Fetuses have the right to life. The right to life includes the right to someone else’s body, if you need that body to live. 
  10. Abortions cause pain and suffering in the fetus. All actions that cause unwanted pain and suffering are typically wrong.

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