The Topic Set that I have decided to write about is death. Death is something that is eventually inevitable. By definition, death is “the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a particular living organism”. Abortion, euthanasia, animal rights and the death penalty all result in death one way or another. My claim about death is that for the betterment of society as a whole sometimes death is necessary, but in a way that is peaceful. My claim regarding death is important to societal morality because I believe society has the moral obligation to protect the rights and safety of their citizens. I believe that death sometimes being necessary should be accepted worldwide as okay because it has a positive outcome on society. Some oppositional claims about my my topic regarding death, might be that life should be valued more than death and that death is never necessary for the betterment of society. It is important that death is sometimes necessary to keep us and future generations out of harms way and in safe hands. In the following paragraphs, I will argue that since death is a necessary outcome for the betterment of society, we must support the ethical issues including abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty and animal rights. Each of these ethical issues connect one way or another, all for the betterment of society.
Having demonstrated the importance of death, I assert in order for death to be successful we must work to support worldwide access to the pro-choice option of abortion. By definition, abortion is the “termination of a pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability”. Abortion is human intervention that does not allow a developing fetus to be born that results in termination or in other words death. Pro-choice movements advocate for legal access to abortion and offer women the right over their own body. My perspective on this issue is in support of pro-choice. I believe that if it is your body, then therefore it should be your choice and unalienable right to decide the future for yourself and for your unborn fetus. Based on our readings we discussed in class, the health of the mother is the ultimate importance and someone who took all the right precautions to prevent pregnancy should not be at fault. We also discussed individual’s not having a moral obligation to none but themselves. The first scenario based on not being at fault if taking the proper precautions, was about a woman keeping her window open to let the cool breeze in on a hot summer night, with a screen. Although her window was open with only a screen, she did not ask for a robber to sneak in through the window. I thought the window being open stood for the woman’s choice of being sexuality active and the screen on the window symbolized her responsible choice of using birth control or another contraception to prevent pregnancy. Although she was taking the proper precautions there was still a slim possibility of a robber breaking in or in other words having an unplanned pregnancy, as an outcome of keeping her window open or in other words being sexuality active. The second scenario involves one having no moral obligations to no one but themselves. In class we had a discussion about Judith Thomson’s reading. This argument was based on imagining being kidnapped and waking up one morning, finding yourself attached to the circulatory system of a famous violinist who will die if you unplug yourself. In my own words I thought about it like this, imagine waking up connected to someone, but not by choice. If you decided to unplug yourself from this other individual then the outcome would result in their death. I believe that unplugging yourself does not make you cruel, bad intentioned or a killer even though it does result in their death. Not only do I not think a woman is not morally obligated, but also that a woman should have safe access to an abortion. In recent years, abortion restrictions have made abortion harder to access and harder to afford, making it just as inaccessible to many women as it would be if it were outright illegal. As an outcome of inaccessibility of abortions, thousands of women are admitted to hospitals every year for septic abortions when the procedure was illegal, either from unsafe and unsanitary back-alley providers or their own amateur attempts at home. Ireland and some African nations banned abortion, except in cases where the woman’s life or health is life threatening. In Peru, abortion is legal only if it is performed in order to save a woman’s life or health. This is a life or death decision that only goes as far as ten percent in women. This law means that it is legal for doctors to refuse abortions, even for young girls who have been a victim of rape. According to a pro-choice article, researchers estimate that 35,000 pregnancies occur every year in Peru as a result of rape. This leaves women and girls with either seeking an illegal abortion and facing legal action or suffering with psychological effects of giving birth to their rapist’s child. It is believed that hundreds of the country’s women die each year as a result of the government refusing to legalize abortions. Tragically, illegal abortions are the third most common indirect cause of death for pregnant women. A story that I found very interesting was an article titled, “A 13-year-old’s life destroyed”. It was about a teenager from Peru who was the target of frequent sexual assaults and became pregnant at the age of thirteen. Confused and desperate, she jumped from the rooftop of a building in the hopes of ending her life. Hours later she was rescued and taken to the hospital, where she was found to be in danger of total paralysis if she did not undergo an emergency operation on her spine. In the United States the circumstances would have been different, but since she was pregnant surgeons refused to perform the procedure, claiming that it would endanger the fetus and therefore be illegal. This surgery was this thirteen year old’s only hope of ever walking again. The issue regarding abortion relates to my chosen topic of death because abortion may be viewed as the choice of your own life over one’s death. Some possible opposing views to my perspective may be that there are other options that include adoption and abstinence, but what if you are taking the proper precautions or are a victim of rape? Society may view people who decide to terminate their pregnancy as careless and as people who take advantage of the system. Unfortunately, you cannot draw a line between an individual who is a victim of rape and an individual who took all of the right precautions to someone who has had a numerous amount of procedures performed due to carelessness. At the end of the day, my claim remains the same due to the fact that all women worldwide should have the choice to do what they want with their own body. This includes access to peaceful, safe and sanitary surgical procedures, that would avoid the danger of women trying to perform this termination on their own. I believe for the betterment and safety of society, abortion should be legal and accessible worldwide to avoid the danger of harmful and unsanitary self-induced abortions resulting in negative psychological and physical effects.
Building on that same principle of death being necessary for the betterment of society, we must also support euthanasia and advocate for pro-choice regarding euthanasia for patients worldwide as well. The second issue within this topic set that I will discuss is physician assisted suicide. My perspective on this ethical issue regarding euthanasia is the pro-choice perspective as well. I believe that terminally ill patients should not have to suffer and should have the right to decide when and how they will go. They should have the right over their own body and the choice to leave this world by a death that is peaceful should be necessary. According to one of our readings by J Hardwig, “there can be a duty to die before one’s illnesses would cause death.” I completely agree with Hardwig because I believe that one should enjoy whatever remaining quality of life they have left and should have the right to choose whether or not they want to suffer, and should be able to decide when they want to end their suffering. This issue relates to my chosen topic of death because euthanasia includes the choice of when and how your death will occur. Euthanasia relates to abortion, because they both have two different perspectives including pro-choice vs. pro-life. In the case of both abortion and euthanasia, termination and death are necessary for the betterment of society. In order to prevent patients and mothers dangerously trying to terminate their own lives and the life of their fetus, it is important to have the full support of a doctor who would perform the procedure. Psychological and physical scarring can result in both cases resulting in negative effects on the individual and many people around that patient or mother. My perspective on both of them is your body, your choice. Some possible oppositions to my perspective may be the questioning of whether or not it is ones ultimate decision. Patients may want to end their suffering one day, but may want to continue fighting later on down the road. Ultimately, as long as it is the patients decision then I support this practice. Also medical professionals may not always have the right diagnosis or give the patient the accurate amount of time they have left to live. Many oppositions to my perspective may value life over death. In an article I read titled, “Should euthanasia or physican-assisted suicide be legal?” it stated that opponents of euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide contend that doctors have a moral responsibility to keep their patients alive. I disagree with these opposing views because these people aren’t in these suffering patients shoes. The patients and their loved ones are hurting as well. In order to not have a suffering society, euthanasia should be accessible and supported worldwide in order to avoid psychological and physical pain of patients and the world they effect around them.
Continuing to build on the principle of death, we must also support that the death penalty. Just like abortion and euthanasia, I believe that death in this case results in the betterment of society as long as it is done in a peaceful manner. The third issue within this Topic Set that I will discuss is the death penalty. My perspective on this issue is that I am for capital punishment. In order for a safe society to thrive I don’t think murderers should have the possibility of rehabilitation or accessibility to be on the streets again. According to the New York Times, a high percentage of convicted killers kill again out of prison. I ask myself is capital punishment moral? I will defend capital punishment on the grounds that society has a moral obligation to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens. Murderers threaten this safety and welfare and only by putting murderers to death can society ensure that convicted killers do not kill again. I believe that the death penalty is an appropriate consequence for ones actions which results in a safer society. Although I believe death is necessary in this case, since there is room for the possibility of human error, I believe death is necessary but in a way that is peaceful since their is a possibility of existing innocent souls on death row that don’t deserve to suffer. In class we talked about a man from Norway who murdered 77 innocent people with a bombing and shooting spree. In the United Stated a terrorist act to this degree would have received the death penalty but since there is no death penalty in Norway, Anders Breivik will only serve 21 years in Norwegian prison, which includes living conditions of what appears to look like a dorm room. In fact this prison system is majorly based on rehabilitation, something I clearly don’t agree will provide stability and safety for society. This relates to my chosen Topic of death because death would be the consequence in this case that has a positive effect on society. A life for a death or a death for a life. This issue relates to abortion because it is choosing “death” over life. Some possible oppositions to my perspective may include the room for human error and the possibility of rehabilitation. There are people who have been convicted guilty of murders that have been found innocent through DNA testing and false convictions. I believe that our science is getting more advanced day by day and that appeals are being answered. I don’t believe murderers are fit to go back into society through rehabilitation. In order for a safer society for civilians, the death penalty is necessary but in a way that is peaceful since there is room for human error.
In order to enact that death is necessary but in a peaceful manner, abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty must be supported, and it follows that we should support animal rights as well. The fourth issue I will discuss is animal rights. I am against animal cruelty and believe that there should be stricter laws enforced regarding this issue. Although I am aware that sometimes the death of animals may be necessary for the circle of life, I believe the treatment and death of animals should not be as cruel as it is today in society. Production and money are ultimately chosen over the quality of life of animals and nature overall. A great example I would like to share is Temple Grandin, who has become one of the top scientist in the humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches and slaughterhouses. She revolutionized systems used to prepare cows for slaughter, as well as the design of the slaughterhouse themselves. Even though she wasn’t fighting to stop the production, she fought to get rid of horrible and harsh conditions cattle don’t deserve. Although death may be necessary for the circle of life, it should only be done in a way that is peaceful because animals are innocent souls that don’t deserve to suffer. Us as human beings are part of the circle of life and are at the top of the food chain, which I don’t think makes us bad intentioned because it is human nature. Although it is questionable whether or not animals are morally obligated to none but themselves and whether or not nature was put on this planet to become part of mass production in a slaughterhouse, I believe that for the betterment of society and to make the world go round the circle of life including the death of an animal is inevitable. The reason I emphasize that death is sometimes necessary is because in the in class article by Kant, he talks about someone feeling bad if they destroy a creature for no reason, something I completely agree with. If killing an animal is just out of pure cruelty with no reason such as a source of nutrition, then I think it is wrong. Giving animals the right to a peaceful death relates to my point regarding euthanasia. When it comes to the point that an animal’s or a patient’s death is inevitable, they still do not deserve to suffer or die for no reason. I think humans deserve the right of dying peacefully and the right over their own body, which brings me back to abortion. Even though our place at the top of the food chain may be necessary and our right, just like my point regarding the death penalty, there is still a possibility innocent souls that don’t deserve to suffer.
Regarding these four issues, abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty and animal rights, I would assert my claim that for the betterment of society death is sometimes necessary, but always in a peaceful manner. Society has a moral obligation to keep society safe in a supportive manner. Some people may value life over death, but it is important to realize that sometimes death is for the better. In my opinion, the laws regarding the issue of abortion and euthanasia should be pro-choice. When regarding capital punishment and animal rights I believe that death is necessary in these cases to make the circle of our society go round, but in a way that is peaceful due to the existence of innocent souls. My perspective of death sometimes being necessary to result in the betterment of society, includes the safety and the rights we as a society deserve. I believe the laws should be similar to what I personally believe because I have the moral obligation in my mind that reflects on the betterment of society. In my opinion, some specific steps that could/should be taken by society includes continued protests by organizations advocating for not only individual but worldwide pro-choice regarding euthanasia and abortion, along with fighting for the peaceful deaths for everyone and anything deserves. It is important to become critical of these issues in today’s society and fight for the positive future for all!
Sources regarding abortion: “A Defense of Abortion” Judith Jarvis Thomson, www.ncregister.com/un-harshly-critized-for-puching-abortion-in-peru
Sources regarding euthanasia: “Is There a Duty to Die?” John Hardwig, http://euthanasia.procon.org/
Sources regarding the death penalty: “The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense” Ernest Van Den Haag, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/opinion/death-penalty-new.html
Resources regarding animal rights: “On Duties to Animals” Immanuel Kant, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/arts/television/05grandin.html