The paper is not meant to be a blueprint for laws determining abortionbecause, unlike what some opponents of abortion would have us believe,not all women who seek abortions do so out of selfish (trivial) conveniencefor themselves; and for those women of conscience who are honestly tryingto do the right thing, abortion (even if right) is often still a traumaticand sad experience that will linger in memory for life, without it beingmade more difficult by legislators, lawyers, judges, and juries -- particularlythose who (seem to) lack sympathy, understanding, and/or sense. Legal proceduresoften are time-consuming, enervating, and expensive; they are often logicallyfrustrating and morally disenchanting; and they are not always morallyfair, even when legally valid.The toll this all exacts on people who use the courts when they are certainthey are in the right sometimes is more than it is worth, even if theywin, and particularly if they lose. To subject a sincerely morally perplexedand psychologically troubled woman unhappily contemplating an abortionto the argumentative, posturing process courtrooms often involve does notseem the most humane way to deal with this problem.
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(3) Concerning the issue of abortion with regard to normally healthy,non-rape engendered fetuses:
first with regard to removal, second with regard to termination offetal life. Once technology reaches the point where a very young fetuscan be safely transplanted from one woman to another or reaches the pointwhere an embryo can be safely maintained mechanically until it reachesmaturity, it would seem to be morally quite unproblematic, for any womanwho wants to, to be allowed to have an embryo removed from her womb sothat it could be transplanted or put on life-support equipment. There wouldno longer be the question of termination of the fetal life. However, (1)that point is not yet approached by science, and so early abandonment isnow concommitant with fetal death; (2) there may be cases in the futurewhere a biological genetic (as opposed to a biological gestation) parent(when fetal transplants become possible) may not only seek fetal removal,but fetal death too -- not wanting the embryo to be implanted into a volunteer'shost womb or to be nurtured to "birth" or maturity by technology. In thissecond case, should the genetic parents have the right to determine whetherthe fetus should be allowed to survive or not?
Overview of the essay The violinist
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However, as the title of this subsection indicates, it is difficult to ascribe responsibility or negligence for pregnancy to anyone who is misinformed or incompletely informed by a society at large that promotes casual, indiscriminate, even empty sexuality among people who are not married and which does not fully inform even married couples about the risks they are taking with intercourse. This is particularly true when, in addition, society allows and even promotes as a right (and the right thing to do whenever desired), ready abortion on-demand for those, whether married or not, who don't want to be pregnant -- without full and proper explanations about birth control and about the significance of low probability/high frequency acts whose consequences can be devastating. People unwilling to have, or unable to properly care for, a child they conceive should not have intercourse that (even slightly) risks conception. In one sense, anyone who does is morally responsible for the pregnancy they cause and the care of any child they have. But as long as most people do not know that in a meaningful way -- because parents and society either don't properly explain (and make certain people know the significance of) the risks of intercourse and the responsibilities of parenthood, or because parents and society try to deter all passion and sexual activity through what should be known to be disbelieved irrational fear or unaccepted and unacceptable Draconian punishment -- then, in another sense, people are not fully or solely culpable for a pregnancy they had been taught was not likely to occur and were taught can be easily ended if it does. And they are also not fully and solely responsible for conceiving a child they will have that they are not properly prepared to raise when they were never really made aware of the obligations and effort required for raising a child properly. And until society accepts the responsibility to make sure people know and really understands the risk of intercourse for causing pregnancy and until society promotes alternative ways to have 100% safe and satisfying (if not even more satisfying) sex (whether with or without orgasm), and until society quits promoting intercourse using at best 99% effective contraception where pregnancies would be seriously wrong and unwanted, unwanted pregnancies are going to occur in large numbers (e.g., roughly one million abortions per year in the U.S. alone since Roe v. Wade), and it will be unfair to punish women or couples who are not totally at fault for having had the sex they did. Society in general, and parents in particular, are contributorily negligent for unwanted pregnancies caused by people not really given the opportunity to be fully and effectively taught to be aware of the risks they are taking and the responsibilities they should be assuming by having intercourse. (And I don't believe that in this day and age, it can be effective to tell children that all sex outside of marriage is wrong and dangerous, even without intercourse. That false genie is out of the bottle. And even if that would work to prevent unwanted conceptions outside of marriage, it would not prevent the unwanted pregnancies that occur within marriage by people who love each other and simply mistakenly thought the intercourse they were having was safe and reasonable. And it would not prevent the wrongfully desired pregnancies by people too young or otherwise incapable of properly raising the children they will have.) And abortions will continue to be either allowed or prohibited, by and large unreasonably either way.