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Ethics of Abortion The fundamental question that most philosophers agree on when discussing abortion is How do you determine the humanity of a being Noonan p 117 Or in other words when does a being acquire a right to life The answer to these questions will determine when it is if ever morally acceptable to abort a fetus There are many different answers varying from one extreme to another Conservatives believe that infants acquire their rights to life at the moment of conception while the liberals feel that fetuses actually do not have any rights to life until at or sometime after birth John T Noonan Jr Noonan was a conservative He feels very strongly that if human parents conceived you then you are a human being with human rights It would therefore always be immoral to abort a fetus unless under the very severe circumstances whereby the mother and the unborn childs lives were in danger Noonan p 117 To support his beliefs Noonan came up with two arguments his supporting argument and his positive argument The supporting argument goes as follows 1 At conception there is a sharp increase in the probability of development therefore 2 it is reasonable to think that a fetus is a human from conception onward The reasoning behind this argument is simple In a normal ejaculation approximately 200 million sperm are released The odds that any one sperm has of becoming human are therefore approximately 1 in 200 million When sperm does meet egg however the probability of development increases dramatically It goes from 1 in 200 million to 4 out of 5 Noonan felt that because the probability of development increased so much at the time of conception the fetus should be considered a human with full moral rights His supporting argument however is weak The premise does not support the conclusion in any way Just because the probability
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