For our next paper I plan on discussing abortion as a social issue. I want to do this in the form of a critical paper This seems to be a very sticky subject and is one of the topics we had in our class that was very interesting to me with a lot of room for interpretation as to when it is or is not o. k. to abort the fetus if it should ever be done at all. The argument I plan to discuss is Jane English’s analogy of the hypnotized attackers which was not one of our readings, but one I came across in some research I did for this upcoming paper.
This analogy has to do with a mad scientist who abducts people, ypnotizes them and has them attack innocent passerbys. A major part of the analogy is realizing that these people who are attacking innocents are themselves innocent and would not be committing the acts of violence that they are guilty of if they were not hypnotized and were able to act on their own volition. They are acting on the will of the mad scientist. He is the only bad person in this whole scenario.
The innocent hypnotized attackers are representative of the fetus and the helpless attackee is representative of the woman or women who are victims of the unwanted pregnancy. The analogy is to determine he measure of force that can that can be used by the attacker to protect one’sself from the undesired attack of an undesirable pregnancy depending on what kind of damage the pregnancy may cause. I think that this analogy does a good job in deciding how to deal with the burden of pregnancy during more than just the moment of attack.
Her narrative can grasp or deal with a lot of possible situations. Jane English argues that if a fetus is a person, abortion is still justifiable in many cases and if a fetus is not a person, killing it is still wrong in many cases (pg. 4). When I first read this , or heard, this passage I felt hat it was fairly wishy- washy. I felt that her argument really did not have a stand, but how can you when you are not truly pro- choice or pro-life. She seems to be saying that there must be a good reason to end a life and not just for the sheer convenience of it.
I completely agree. Also, with this argument came the concept of personhood. This concept seems to be what liberals and conservatives are trying to define because it can be stated at that exact moment when a fetus becomes a person and therefore when abortion becomes murder, so this would help decide how far up to term when a fetus can be aborted, if at all. Further can be added to this, such as the morality of even killing a non- person, but we will not get into that now. To deal with this argument Jane English came up with the analogy of the hypnotized attacker.
In this analogy a mad scientist abducts innocent people, hypnotizes them to do his evil bidding, which in this case is to spring from concealed places and attack other innocents (pg. 5). In this analogy it must be understood that the innocent hypnotized attacker is the fetus. The innocent attackee is the mother to be. The mad scientist who plants the seed of dementia into the hypnotized attacker can only be the father, but hat really has no bearing on the analogy. Now, this is just the introduction.
Now we deal with the concept of self defense, because if you are being attacked by these crazed innocents then it is safe to say that you have every right to defend yourself even if the person you may have to stop by violent force is innocent and would not want to hurt or attack you ordinarily. You would even have the right to kill this person if necessary to save yourself from serious injury. Remember that you are not the malicious one and even the attacker is not attacking out of malice, only the mad scientist is malignant.
But now we want to know ow violent you should act to defend yourself if the attack would only cost you a torn shirt or a blackened eye. Obviously , the death of the attacker would not be at all necessary. You need only attack with the force necessary to retaliate with the minimal force to damage equally or somewhat above equally to the force you have been threatened with. This is perfectly acceptable in our society. This is the minimal force theory.
This relates to pregnancy in the sense that an unwanted pregnancy causes damage to the woman from minor discomfort to the loss of life, life prospects, mental and or physical health. So what ind of self defense should a woman use against a fetus? I guess that depends on the kind of damage that a child may cause to the woman. If there really is not a problem other than missing appointments or just a minor inconvenience or threat to her interests, then abortion can not be justified and the fetus would be used as a means.
The self defense method shows that the woman has a right to be freed of the fetus (attack), but not the right to demand its death. Next, English goes on to say that if you were passing by the scene of two people struggling and you did not know either of them from Dixie and you also did not know which f either of them was of more worth to society, or who was the attacker or attackee then you would have no reason to help either of them. This is supposed to imply that a woman can try to abort herself but that a doctor should not be able to help in the abortion.
Then English adds to the story that if you were to once again walk into a scene where there was a struggle and this time you knew one of them, you would rush to the aid of your friend lover or parent without knowing or even caring if the one you are helping is attackee or attacker. Also, if the same were to happen, but you did not know one of the people in the struggle ersonally, but you knew one of them to be of value to society then you would help that one of value. This is a perfectly valid statement.
If I were to put myself in those situations I would assuredly act accordingly. I would help the one that was closest to me, or the one that I knew to be of value. One scenario English never made was what if I walked into the same scenario where there is a battle taking place and I was close to both of the people in the confrontation. What would I do? In this scenario I would mediate between the two parties. The parallel in this situation would be that the woman were my irlfriend, lover, or wife and I were to impregnate her and she wanted an abortion and I wanted her to keep it.
I guess once again in that situation I would try to convince her to keep it, but I would have no right to try to force her to do so. All in al the scenario that English has conceived is good. There is even a part that helps with the situation where if a doctor were to not know the woman wanting the abortion, how he can go on to give her the abortion. This is by her hiring the doctor to give her the abortion, he has become her agent. This is paralleled by if you were to walk outside alone at night knowing that there are razed attacker out there, then you hire a body guard to protect your person from attack.
Basically there are a lot of clauses in this analogy that that gives excuses for abortion through the parallels that she gives examples for. All of which seem to be perfectly acceptable, such as how abortion seems to be much more acceptable if it is damaging to life or life prospects. Such as would be the case for pregnant teens. This idea was exemplified by yet another scenario in which a prominent and highly trained doctor is threatened with a memory block that would put an end to his life prospects and probably end his amily life, he, in our scenario, has the right to kill his attacker.
There is also a piece that explains how contraceptives are a good idea, but how abortion is always wrong which is exemplified by the use of mace or another protective device to protect onesself without killing. That was my exposition of the phiosophers argument. She also tries to makes the ‘ innocent ‘ atackee (woman who gets pregnant) as innocent as possible. She could have gone the extra step and tried to make her sound virginal. Any person who has consensual sexual intercourse should be wise enough to know of the possible dangers of not only regnancy, but also of sexually transmitted diseases.
If a woman gets pregnant because she was fornicating for the sheer pleasure of it, she should be able to accept the consequences. The fetus is not the one that is threatening life, futures, or mental and physical stability, but the two who are participating in the act of sexual intercourse. It is silly to sit here and read of women who openly and willingly have consensual intercourse, some of them with out the use of birth control and have them spoken of as completely innocent. I am not trying to preach in any way, but any sane adult knows that these eople are not completely innocent.
There are parts of her analogy that I find lacking or in need of revisal and this is one of them. And to speak of contraception as a form of protection is also wrong in the sense that perhaps these people should be defending themselves not from the product of their desires, but from the desires themselves. Perhaps people should not have sex until they are ready to accept the consequences instead of bellyaching after they screwed up because they never thought that it could happen to them.
English has made good excuses and a nice analogy, but they can not answer everything. I can gree with English saying that an abortion is allowable if it is causing a life threatening problem, but this is rare. Perhaps other options should be considered such as adoption or even having her tubes tied so as not to have to deal with this situation in the first place. Also even if I were to neglect all that I just said, I still do not see how for every action to occur there has to be a reason such as the doctor helping or not helping depending on how the scenario is enacted.
Also, her scenario can not account for every possibility. She did not even have a scenario where if a passerby were to come upon the scene of hese two struggling and in this situation knew them both and tried to intermediate between the two in the hopes of coming to a peaceful understanding. Which would be paralleled by a lover, boyfriend, or husband wanting his lady-friend to keep the child and not abort it. I suppose that there are other scenarios that could have been brought up, but she also failed to do that.
If Jane English were to defend herself against my attack I suppose that she could start for one on my bit on the near virginal portrayal of these attacked females. These girls are not necessarily innocent, but how was I suppose to portray them? Should I have made them up to be prostitutes when it is general knowledge that all types are getting abortions. It is not just the dumb, or irresponsible, but women of all ages and walks of society. Those that do get into this kind of trouble are not necessarily bad or filled with wrong intentions.
These are girls who will feel guilt for the aborted child. They are not guiltless or cruel and will most likely regret the loss after the fact or nearly right away, but had to make a decision that would affect their future. As for my humanizing the fetus who are you to say that they are not human? I will not call it a hing without further proof of their inhumanity or even of their humanity. As for my analogy of the hypnotized attackers, it was the closest I could do to bring about the gravity and moral issues of the act.
If I were to use hypnotized, crazed gerbils or barnyard animals who would take me seriously or get some kind of an affect from my article? The use of people was to bring the issue closer to home and seem as personal as it truly is. There are some out there or a lot I should say that feel no remorse in killing an animal, even one that is crazed and wishes to harm you or your family. A fetus is not a mongrel dog that can be hot in the streets, but something much more vital and with a lot of potential.
A fetus is something we all started out as once and that fetus could be related to you or could possibly be your brother. What if the aborted fetus were your mother, where would you be now? You make a better analogy if you can. As for my inability to create more scenarios to get my point across, I assumed that after I rayed out my first few scenarios that I would not have to make every single scenario necessary to fit every need You have the layout tailor the rest to fit your own personal needs. This should have been obvious.
My opinion to you is to consider your criticisms more carefully before they are given to me. As I imagine it The author’s defense of my criticism is successful. I feel that she was successful because the topic itself is already a very difficult topic without any real boundaries and she has given feasible answers or considerations to deal with. She was able to bring the topic home and made me consider it with a more critical eye. Also, I know that I could not make a better argument or narrative. In my opinion Jane English has succeeded in creating a narrative that helps to consider the ethics involved in abortion.
Our concept of personhood is not sharp or clear enough to bare the weight of a solution to this controversy, but if a fetus is a person, abortion is still justifiable in many cases: and if a fetus is not a person, abortion is still wrong in many cases. As I said this article I used is not from our philosophy book, but it deals with abortion as a social issue and is written by one of the same people that we were to use in our book.. Also I found her analogy of abortion with self defense very creative and decided to use it because it would be different from what other people were using.