The authors differ in that Ms. Warren presented a legal argument and Mr. Marquis
presented a moral argument. This is not to say that Ms. Warren didn't probe the moral
implications of the subject but only as to clarify for whom our morals serve.
Ms. Warren argued that an important step in finding a solution to the moral debate of
abortion would be to define what we consider a "human person". She believes that "the
term human has two distinct...senses" a moral sense and a genetic sense. (Rachels RTD
98-99). With a clear definition in place we can then argue whether a fetus is a human
person. Until that happens an argument such as the one Mr. Marquis uses is an example
of a fallacious argument because he makes the assumption that a fetus is a human
Mr. Marquis argued that killing takes away the future value from a human being and
therefore is morally wrong.
Since abortion takes the future value of a potential life
away, and since we collectively agree that the worst thing that can happen to someone is
to have their life taken away (the value of potential life being the same for adults and
children and therefore a fetus), then abortion is morally wrong (Rachels RTD 110-113).
The problem I have with this is that I didn't read anything about how he came to prove
that a fetus should be given the status of being alive or having life. I agree with his main
premise but I can't jump to his next premise or agree with his conclusion - how the fetus
has the same status as someone who is living and cognizant. He skipped over what
seems to be the main argument of when life is defined and as Ms. Warren believes
creates a fallacious argument against abortion.
Both writers addressed the issue of potential life. I think Mr. Marquis used this to get
around the definition of when life begins. If a fetus isn't a human person yet, it definitely
is a potential person and taking away the potential value of a potential life is wrong. Will
a fetus know what value is lost since it isn't cognizant or conscious of what could be lost?
Who decides what the value lost is for the fetus? Is it presumed? Ms. Warren uses the
need to define what a human person is before deciding whether a potential person has
the same rights that an actual person does. According to Ms. Warren one can conclude
that the actual person should have the protection and the right to make the decision of
whether or not to have an abortion and that these rights supersede the rights of the
I am a proponent of choice but I did approach Mr. Marquis' essay with an open mind. I
see that I am more critical of his argument but I think it is because I think he avoids, by
the use of "potential" life, the main argument of when life is begins; at conception or at
birth. Because of this I am not swayed by his emotional argument. I agree much more
in the concept Ms. Warren argues that defining the differences between the actual person
and the potential person is necessary to accurately argue either position.