Sometimes Choosing Death is Necessary

The subject of death has been a very controversial topic for decades. The debate is whether or not people should be able to choose death or if death should only take place naturally. In this essay I will discuss three controversial issues that all include death as the end result. These issues include abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty.  In the United States, the morals of each person differ tremendously, which is what makes coming to an agreement on these issues so difficult. I will discuss my views on the topic of death itself and further discuss each issue in detail. While discussing these three issues, I will argue that since death is a reasonable escape when the quality of life is decreased, we must support abortion, support euthanasia, and support capital punishment.

Many of those who oppose abortion rely on the premise that the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception. They agree that the woman has a right to decide what happens to and in her body, but when the fetus’ life is at stake, the life of the fetus takes priority. Judith Jarvis Thomson states in the reading, “A Defense of Abortion”, “Opponents of abortion commonly spend most of their time establishing that the fetus is a person, and hardly any time explaining the step from there to the impermissibility of abortion.” Most of the arguments you hear against abortion claim that taking a human life is unacceptable, but they don’t go far beyond that and discuss why taking the human life is unacceptable. For the sake of argument, Thomson accepts that the fetus is an innocent human being with the right to live. Her claim is that, “killing a human being is not always wrong.”  I assume many people would agree that ending the life of the fetus is not the ideal solution. But, there are many reasons abortion should be an option for women. It is not always the case that the woman who ended up pregnant chose to partake in the sexual activity. The woman may have been raped and therefore, the pregnancy was completely out of her control. In this case the woman should have the option to abort the child if she wishes. By forcing the woman to carry a child she does not wish to have, it is not only decreasing the mother’s quality of life, but it is also decreasing the child’s quality of life as well. In other situations the mother may not be financially or emotionally ready to raise a child, in these cases she is sparing the child the future suffering of being raised by a mother who cannot support him or her. In this case, having the child is also decreasing the quality of life of both the mother and the child. The mother will have to sacrifice things in her life in order to provide for the child, and the child will grow up in an unstable environment with his mother financially and emotionally struggling. And lastly, undergoing a nine-month pregnancy may be detrimental to a woman’s health. She may not be physically able to carry the baby and survive the delivery. Thomson states that in this case, it would be generous of the woman to carry the baby to term anyways, but she is by no means obligated to do so. The woman would not be threatening the quality of her life but sacrificing her very life for that of her child. These three examples all prove that we should make abortion legally accessible to all women. These three issues prove that when the quality of the child or mother’s life is decreased, death is a reasonable escape.

Euthanasia is another topic that is very controversial. Most states in the U.S. have deemed euthanasia to be illegal because it is a form of suicide. I believe euthanasia should be an option for people that are experiencing a great amount of suffering in their lives. Many of us are lucky enough to be able to say that we have not suffered excessively. But on the other hand there are people who struggle to get through each day because of the physical, emotional, or mental pain they are in. I believe these people should be able to end their lives peacefully rather than having to suffer until they take their last breathe. John Hardwig states in the reading, “Is There a Duty to Die?”, “…the individualistic fantasy leads us to assume that the patient is the only one affected by decisions of her medical treatment.” The individual in need of medical treatment is not the only one affected by his or her sickness. If they are not able to care for themselves they are putting that duty on others. In order to make life easier for those around them and spare themselves the constant decreasing quality of life, they should have the option to take their own life in a painless way. Euthanasia allows people to go peacefully and die with dignity. This is another example of the quality of life being decreased and death being a reasonable way to escape the trauma.

And lastly, capital punishment is acceptable in order to help maintain a safe society for innocent citizens. Many people believe that sentencing capital murderers to death is contradictory. “How can we punish murderers by murdering them?” These people believe that this is a vicious cycle and the murderers are not taught a lesson by being put to death. I completely disagree with these thoughts. In “The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense”, Ernest Van Den Haag states that murdering and executing are two completely different things. I could not agree more. Murdering is the act of a criminal killing an innocent person. Executing is ending the life of a convicted murderer and bringing him justice for the lives that he took. “Murder is unlawful and undeserved, whereas execution is lawful and deserved punishment for an unlawful act.” There are 20,000 homicides in the United States each year. Some of these murderers killed innocent citizens and then also killed or attempted to kill police officers that worked in the jail in which they were detained. This shows that even though criminals may be detained for the rest of their lives that does not always ensure that they will refrain from hurting others while they are behind bars. In order to keep the police officers and other members of the jail safe, we need to sentence capital murderers to death. Van Den Haag also states in the reading that by committing a capital crime you are voluntarily assuming the risk. People are aware that the death penalty is a possible punishment and by committing the crime anyways, they are accepting the possible death sentence. In order to protect our citizens we must sentence capital murderers to death to prevent them from hurting anyone else. “Sparing the lives of prospective victims is more important than the lives of murderers.” Murderers are decreasing the quality of life of those that surround them by causing people to live in fear of being hurt, because of this, death is a reasonable way to end the trauma.

As you can see, although death is not always the ideal solution, it is completely necessary is some cases. Each person should have complete control of their body unless they are inflicting harm upon others and decreasing the quality of life of those that surround them. If a woman wants to end her pregnancy, she should have the right to do so. If a person wants to put a stop to their constant suffering and end their life in a peaceful way, they should also have the right to do so. And lastly, capital murderers should be put to death because they are decreasing the quality of life of those that surround them. When the quality of life is being threatened, death is a viable option. 

[1] “A Defense of Abortion” – Judith Jarvis Thomson,Fall02/thomson.htm

[2] “The Wrongfulness of Euthanasia” – J. Gay-Williams

[3] “Is There a Duty to Die?” – John Hardwig

[4] “The Ultimate Punishment: A Defense” – Ernest Van Den Haag

[5] Statistic Brain

[6] Our Bodies Ourselves


Our Obligation to Society


Obligation can appear as a commitment solely enforced through law due to its forceful nature. However, moral obligation is also present within individuals as well as society. Within our own society there are a number of ethical issues that can be perceived differently—all of which due to the wide array of numerous morals each individual lives by. For instance, a woman has been married to her husband for only one year. The newlyweds are still undecided whether or not they want a child in the future, but for now, they would like to simply enjoy each other. Within months, the woman learns she has become pregnant despite taking all possible preventative measures. After discussing the issue with her husband, she concludes to abort the child. She figures they did everything they could to prevent pregnancy; therefore she is justified in her decision. Also, they are not yet ready.  In this case, abortion is okay for the woman due to the circumstance she is dealt, yet another woman’s point of view may have differed. In other cases, another woman may presume this instance to be her fate and despite circumstance, she disagrees with aborting her unborn child. What is important to consider in this hypothetical situation is that in the end, each individual has morals, yet all differ upon what some believe is right, others wrong, and how to consider the circumstances. Although there is no concrete moral code to uphold among society, moral obligation remains vital and through that, what about other pressing ethical issues? I believe society is morally obligated to others in many situations such as helping those who face poverty, and preventing war due to its effect on the weak and marginal. In addition, we must also eliminate the death penalty due to its harsh measures on those who are usually poor and weak.


Having demonstrated the importance of obligations to others, I assert that implementing moral obligation can be successful by assisting individuals who face poverty. The world’s poverty gap is far too wide and must be bridged immediately. According to the World Bank, the world poverty gap lies at $1.25 per day[1]. What is important to realize is that while many people live comfortably, largely among Western Europe as well as the United States and others, there are people living in countries such as Brazil, El Salvador, and Somalia who struggle to survive solely due to the shortage of food and water. While others spend money on unnecessary material items, people are starving and fighting to survive. It is a wide gap that I believe must be eliminated. Anyone who lives comfortably or has the luxury to buy unnecessary material items should be obligated to help those in need. Those who face extreme poverty are weak and marginalized. They most likely have a slim chance of working to attain a comfortable lifestyle and therefore should be protected.


Many believe that it is not required nor is it our problem to help those in need. Ultimately, they may be of a different nationality or perceived to have gotten into those positions by their own actions. However, the reality is that we are all human. Despite nationality or race, we as a society are obligated to protect life and those fighting for it due to their circumstances. It is an undeserving situation no matter who the individual and it is up to us to end it and bridge the gap. According to Famine, Affluence, and Morality by Peter Singer, “[. . .] if it is in our power to prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing anything of comparable moral importance, we ought, morally, to do it.”[2] If we are in the means and without succumbing to the level of poverty this person may be in, then we are obligated to do so because they are weak and helpless in their position.


Along with the issue of poverty, our moral obligation to others is also successful by extending it to the eradication of war. War also is an instance where the weak and innocent are wrongfully effected. Take for example the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. My Lai was located in South Vietnam where agitated troops ultimately opened fire on weak and innocent civilians:


 As the ‘search and destroy’ mission unfolded, it soon degenerated into the massacre

of over 300 apparently unarmed civilians including women, children, and the elderly. [William Calley] ordered his men to enter the village firing, though there had been no report of opposing fire. According to eyewitness reports offered after the event, several old men were bayoneted, praying women and children were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl was raped and killed.[3]


Although it can be argued that it was a one-time occurrence where these troops should not have opened fire, the death of human beings is inevitable in war. These troops may not have been in their right mind at the time, and all due to the formality or war and what it causes physically and psychologically. Had the United States and Vietnamese officials negotiated, this atrocity could have been eliminated. More efforts must be taken to prevent the outcome of war. That is one of the important issues of why an individual is elected into office- for his/her leadership. It is our obligation as well as our leadership to prevent war at all costs—even if that mean months of talks and meetings. If two leaders are unable to come to an agreement, more officials should step in to provide objectiveness and possible solutions.


Conviction that some negotiations are impossible to make can be seen through the Camp David Accords II, where former president Bill Clinton made the effort of bargaining the Middle East conflict between former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.  The accords were to end the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Ultimately, President Clinton did not give up, however. Time ran out and elections took place, ultimately implementing a new leader in replace of Ehud Barak.[4] As a result, violence is a reoccurring issue within the Middle East and innocent victims die every day due to the holy war. Had all leaders persisted to come to a collective agreement, much of this would not be an issue. In retrospect, we as humans are obligated to help the weak and marginalized. By preventing war, this can occur and innocent victims would not lose their lives as frequently.


In order to enact our obligation to others, assisting victims of poverty and preventing war must be supported, and it follows that we should also eliminate the death penalty. In many cases throughout history, there have been heinous crimes committed that outweigh others. Nevertheless, all result in victims dying. Yet, what must be remembered is we are replacing what those murderers did with a punishment that is of equal or more value. According to From Justice, Civilization, and the Death Penalty: Answering van den Haag by Jeffrey H. Reiman, “Calling for the abolition of the death penalty, though it be just, then, amounts to urging that as a society we place execution in the same category of sanction as beating, raping, and torturing, and treat it as something it would also not be right for us to do to offenders, [. . .].”[5] It is our obligation to not repeat the same injustice these criminals commit. However, it is also important to note that in many cases, these criminals are also weak and marginalized themselves. Within the conditions they were raised, there is likely to have been some traumatic experiences that left them mentally ill or vengeful. We must look beyond using the scapegoat of capital punishment and possibly implement other programs that can rehabilitate or help these people.


It is possible that not everyone can be rehabilitated, but through this we must be able to draw the line and impose punishment by means of life in prison rather than rehabilitation and instead of the death penalty. For example, after killing 77 people, Norway’s Anders Behring Breivik was sentenced the maximum in Norway of 21 year in prison. It was clear Breivik was not mentally ill; he acted as an apparent terrorist and anti-Islamic killer. According to Why Norway is Satisfied with Breivik’s Sentence by Mark Lewis of the Time World Newspaper, “For the survivors and the bereaved families, a sane man [was] properly punished, while Breivik [felt he could] still burnish his credentials as a political terrorist, without being written off as a madman.”[6] There was a clear distinction Breivik was not mentally ill. Although rehabilitation is an aspect of society’s obligation to prevent the death penalty, we must also be able to distinguish which criminals even serve the qualifications or genuinely need help rather than those, like Breivik, who cannot be tamed. More so, it is our obligation to prevent the death penalty and protect the weak and marginalized—in many cases, they murder and commit crimes due to these very reasons. By that, instead of choosing the death penalty, we must make an effort to identify the root of the cause and see if it is possible to change this person.



More so, we as a society have an obligation to assist others that are weak and marginalized in society. Through this means we are obligated to help human beings facing poverty, prevent war because it ultimately leads to the circulation of innocent deaths, and lastly, we must prevent the death penalty because it repeats the criminals’ mistakes while not considering they too may be the victim of marginalization. Although obligation may seem like a choice everyone should make on a personal level, why not implement a system of moral guidelines that creates a maxim for society regarding moral obligation? It is ideal for no one to suffer from starvation while the issue can easily be prevented. For that matter, why not instill a moral code that individuals can look and live by as a set of guidelines? There is no need to make it a law, however it should be a code that is commonly stressed and spoken by. It is also ideal for war not to occur; therefore we as a people must step in when officials cannot negotiate. We must force them to come to an agreement because war is not an option, and if they cannot, we improvise until there is a solution. Lastly, I believe it is ideal to prevent the death penalty because it repeats the act of the criminal and does not address the root of why the criminal committed such an act. Why not see if there is hope for that person? Then after, we can determine his/her fate.  Society is responsible for each and every situation. We must step in and make a change through obligation, because without it, there would be no change made.

[1] “The World Bank,”

 [2] “Famine, Affluence, and Morality.” Peter Singer

 [4] “History of Failed Peace Talks.” BBC News

 [5] From Justice, Civilization, and the Death Penalty: Answering van den Haag.” Jeffrey H. Reiman

Censorship: An Ineffective Cure for Society’s Ills

Censorship: An Ineffective Cure for Society's Ills

Censorship is dangerous. Giving an individual or an organization control over what can and cannot be experienced is a lot of power that can be corrupted. As Americans we value our freedom of speech but this value is not limited to citizens of the United States. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes freedom of speech as a human right and it is recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”. Freedom of speech and the freedom to express our views are basic human rights. When we censor expression we stifle creativity; it is creativity that holds the answers to the questions we seek and the cure to the ailments from which we suffer. Censorship in fact brings more attention to the subject the censor wishes to eliminate. Adding the allure of secrecy often makes the subject more curious and the draw to the object more intense. In the following paragraphs, I will assert that censorship is not the proper tool to use to protect those we deem vulnerable, we must oppose censorship of sex work, homophobia, pornography and sexism/violence in advertising.

As we recognize the importance of free speech as recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ineffectiveness of censoring information some may deem harmful we must have uncensored sex workers in order to put proper safety measures in place. There is and has always been great controversy surrounding the sex work industry. Prostitution, often referred to as the world’s “oldest profession,” has been both a means for economic empowerment for women as well as a source for social degradation and or embarrassment. In her article, Defending Prostitution Charges Against Ericsson,” Carol Pateman argues, “To be able to purchase a body in the market presupposes the existence of masters. Prostitution is the public recognition of men as sexual masters; it puts submission on sale as a commodity in the market…”1 If Pateman’s claim s true then certainly we as a society should be working towards the end of prostitution specifically, and sex work in general. Consider, though the effectiveness of censorship on eliminating a social ill. We need only travel back in history to the prohibition of alcohol to see that making something illegal or legally inaccessible will not quell the desire to consume that which we censor. Speakeasies ran rampant across America. Homemade stills produced alcoholic beverages affectionately known as moonshine without being regulated or monitored. Moonshine “runners” modified their engines so that they could deliver the product quickly and out run the law if necessary. The government taking matters into their own hands and making the decision for society that the consumption of alcoholic beverages should not be consumed did nothing to cure the social ills the censorship was intended to alleviate; it actually heightened the desire for the banned substance and created more ills than it sought to cure. Harry White views sex work as a profession and not a subjected position; one that might benefit greatly benefit from being “unionized.” It is his view that if the sex work industry is censored it would drive it underground and would expose the women some are motivated to protect to “violence they did suffer from police, pimps and others when pornography was strictly illegal.”2 He likened censoring sex work to closing factories to solve the problems of low pay, insecurity and poor working conditions among factory workers. The simple fix of imposing the you can’t do that anymore rule on society will not eliminate the sex work industry nor will it solve the problems generated by the industry.

Neither can homophobia, though it may be offensive and even detrimental to our society, be successfully thwarted through censorship. Homophobic speech is more common than some may realize. It works it’s way into our everyday vocabulary without us even realizing it. Take for example the term “gay.” My mother would use the term to mean happy. I would use the term to mean homosexual. My teenaged son used the term to mean bad, until I corrected him. In 2002 a student, Rebecca Rice used the term “that’s so gay” at school and was reprimanded receiving a warning and a notation on her file. Her parents sued, and claimed that Rice’s first amendment rights were violated because she used a phrase that “enjoys widespread currency in youth culture.”3 That is disturbing for more than one reason. It’s hurtful to those individuals that you’ve categorized as stupid, silly, or dumb by associating their group with a negative connotation. It’s unnerving if Rice did not realize the harm she was causing with her words. (This could likely be the case as I determined from speaking with my son and his friends.) It’s tragic if Rice understood how hurtful her words were and decided to use them anyway. According to the list compiled by Warren J. Blumenfeld4, among other things, “Homophobia can be used to stigmatize, silence and, on occasion, target people who are perceived or defined by others as gay, lesbian or bisexual but who are in actuality heterosexual.” We can all agree that this is only one of the terrible consequences of homophobia. As a cure, however, shall we stigmatize, silence and on occasion, target people who are perceived or defined by others as homophobic? Certainly not. And if we did, would that stop people from feeling or thinking hurtful or negative things about homosexuals that may be kindling to incite violence or other hurtful actions towards them. Then, maybe we should start monitoring and censoring thoughts. Ridiculous, I know.

Censorship of sex work and homophobic rhetoric cannot be tolerated neither then can the censorship of pornographic materials. We are afraid. We fear how exposure to what we deem immoral material might effect our most vulnerable in society. We are afraid of what may become of those who study images on paper or screen might do when found in similar real life situations. Wendy McElroy in her article “A Feminist Defense of Pornography,” states her position as a “pro-sex” feminist: Pornography benefits women, both personally and politically.5 In his article, “Why Pornography Should Not Be Censored,” Antony Grey says of censorship, “Censorship – whatever its pretext – is the denial of our freedom to choose what we can read, see, hear and do. It consists of arbitrary interference with free communication and is a distortion of the marketplace of ideas.”6 We want to protect our young and our vulnerable from the unwanted attention and actions of those influenced by pornographic materials but can we reasonably expect to remove the influence of pornography from society by censoring it’s publication or will driving the pornography industry underground and even more mystic to the already taboo trade? For the most part children already know pornography is not accepted in society but that hasn’t stopped little boys from sharing Playboy in their secret clubhouse. Though the society stigma may keep Hustler Magazine off the living room coffee table it certainly hasn’t kept it from under the bed, in the tool box or being delivered on thin the brown kraft paper wrapper. As we have seen in the examples of sex work and homophobia, censorship does not eliminate the dangers society seeks to eradicate. Censoring an industry only moves it away from society’s ability to regulate it; once it goes underground we no longer have the ability to enforce laws that make the industry safe for it’s participants.

As we see the ineffectiveness of censoring sex work, homophobic messages and pornography it is clear that censoring violence/sexism in advertising would not give us the desired effect. Advertising has a purpose: to entice it’s audience to buy. As long as the message is filling that purpose, it will remain unchanged. Social action then, like a boycott of a particular manufacturer that produces violent or sexist advertisement would be of maximum effect to remove this disturbing media. Charlotte Hilton Anderson calls a study that claimed women see these sexist and violent advertisements as high art or as a type of fiction shenanigans.7 She goes on to say, “And if the point of advertising is to sell something then I’d have to see proof that these ads move merch before I’ll believe my fellow sisters really do like it rough.” I agree that a photographed image of a gang rape scene will not move me to purchase Dolce & Gabana however, are the advertisers pushing the envelope of acceptability so that they may be accepted in the high end glamour magazines? And, once accepted in the publication, not to be glazed over with the other 80% advertising content but be dramatic or shocking enough to make the consumer stop the page turning frenzy and focus long enough for the company logo to register? “…we expect censorship to work for social change; in the past it has always worked against it. A government of feminists can be usurped overnight by a government of wowsers, offended by tampon advertising or any hint of sex.”8 States Adele Horin in her article “Why Censorship is Worse than the Sexist Ad.” She states that self-regulation is a different matter from “hauling in the government to set the rules.” Clearly this would be the better solution; asking the industry to come to a reasonable set of guidelines to hold itself accountable to and holding court on itself to ensure that the industry remains an integral part of society rather than having an outside entity determine what it can and cannot produce.

It is the responsibility of society to protect it’s vulnerable but censorship is not the best protection against the ills created by sex work, homophobia, pornography and sexism/violence in advertising. Some might think censorship rids society by removing the message but thoughts, intents and desires cannot be censored. When we act in fear as a defense to things we find offensive our efforts are negated by the allure of the taboo. And if we persist in censorship we run the risk of capping the creativity of society by making it unacceptable to imagine, think or create outside of the accepted norm. Messages can be damaging, especially those directed towards are youth. I submit a better defense against these dangers is education. We must as a society educate our citizens early and thoroughly. As early as primary education, we must implement media awareness education so that we understand the role that media plays. Citizens should know the difference between advertisements and news, opinion and fact, healthy behavior and violent fantasy. It is our responsibility and our duty to educate ourselves. Media awareness education curriculum should be created and implemented in the public school systems across the nation. An informed citizen is not easily beguiled by hate messages, imitator of violent or sexist messages, or a participant in risky behavior that endangers his own health or that of his community. We cannot take away the basic human right of the freedom to express self by censoring the message we must instead arm ourselves with education that we may rightly disseminate what is good for our own self.

1Carol Pateman, Defending Against Prostitution: Charges Against Ericsson 2Harry White, Anatomy of Censorship: Why the Censors Have it Wrong (University Press of America, 1997) 3Gimme Five | the blog of a busy guy, Censorship vs. Hate Speech and the Word Gay, 4Warren J Blumenfeld, How Homophobia Hurts Everyone: A Theoretical Foundation 5Wendy McElroy, “A Feminist Defense of Pornography” 6Antony Grey, Why Pornography Should Not Be Censored, 7Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Dolce & Gabbana Says Women Like It Rough, 8Adele Horin, Why Censorship is Worse Than the Sexist Ad,

Sometimes Death is Necessary

Death is the most powerful, unavoidable, necessary force that exists in our world. Although terrible in a lot of situations, tearing families apart and causing much grief, death is a force that can better our society as a whole. Sometimes death is required in situations like abortions, euthanasia, and war to benefit society as a whole.

                Abortion uses death in a necessary manner to allow women the right to choose what happens to their body. The controversy over abortion is whether or not women should have the right to choose to terminate their own pregnancy. Some people believe that abortion is a murder, and they shouldn’t take place because the baby has the right to live over the mother. They believe that the mother has a moral obligation to the embryo to sacrifice her body for their future child’s life. I believe that women should have the right to choice, and that you have an obligation to yourself and not to the embryo. In the situation of abortion I believe that bodily integrity is the most beneficial to society. A woman should have the right of bodily integrity, but at a certain point so does the fetus, when the embryo has developed into the features of a child then the pregnancy has gone to terminate. I believe that the woman should have the right to abort up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy, because by then the baby could sustain itself out side of the womb, and adoption should be their only option to revoke responsibility as a parent. Conflict arises when people have different morals and try to impose their morals onto other, giving people the right to choice over their own bodies allows for each individual to follow their own morals. Any fertile woman is capable of having a child; however it takes more than the ability to have a child to raise it. In an article published in 2001 by John Donohue and Steven Levitt, these social scientists stated that when abortion was legalized in 1970, eighteen years after this law passed crime rates dropped significantly because unwanted children that would potentially be more exposed to gangs and crime were no longer being born. Along with the decreased crime, abortions provide a safe way for women to stop pregnancy instead of illegal home procedures with fatal consequences. In the reading “A Defense of Abortion,” by Judith Jarvis Thomson, she opens her argument of killing an innocent human being is not always wrong by showing an example. Thomson example was a hypothetical situation symbolizing abortion where she asks you to imagine yourself in a position where you have been kidnapped and you wake up in a hospital connected though machines to a professional violinist. The violinist cannot live on his own, Thomson goes on saying that you might allow the violinist to use your body out of kindness, however you are not obligated to do so and you may rightfully pull the plug on him if you choose. I agree with Thomson’s view on abortion, a woman does don’t have an obligation to the fetus, she could allow the fetus to use her body out of kindness however she has the right to abort. Abortions benefit society in more ways than allowing people to act upon their own morals, they reduce the numbers of unwanted children and therefore reducing the affects that happen when a child is born unwanted and uncared for.

                 Much like abortion, euthanasia is a controversial issue dealing with choices between life or death. Euthanasia is a direct choice to death. Some people view the choice to kill themselves as a mental illness, and in some cases it’s true; however, I believe that for the greater good of society euthanasia should be legal. People have the right to their body in health reasons. Not everyone in any state of mind should be able to euthanize themselves, if a person is not diagnosed with any illness wants to be euthanized their mental state should be checked and help should be given to them, however if after they still don’t want to live, they have the right to die. If euthanasia wasn’t offered to them they would most likely still find a way to kill themselves. Death is feared by many, the fear of the unknown and the uncontrollable. Being able to control your death would set ease to many people. Euthanasia allows people to have a good death, at the time they want. If a person is terminally ill and in severe pain and suffering they should have the right to control the manner in which they die. According to Exit International, they believe a peaceful death is everybody’s right, so far euthanasia is legal for terminally ill patients or patiens with no hope in Oregon, Washington, and soon to be Montana. They cannot control their body with regards to the illness, however they should be able to control the way they die.  Along with a terminal illness, I believe that if a person has pre-decided that if they were ever to be on life support with a slim to no chance to ever come out of it the same person they were then their medical guardian should have the right to euthanize them. Euthanasia is for the betterment of society, the money spent on trying to keep them alive without suffering could be better spent, along with the resources being used by them could be better invested and used. In John Hardwig’s essay, “From Is There a Duty to Die,” he talks about the being a burden to love ones and how nobody ever wants to put a strain on the people they love. Although death is very sad in some situation where a person is completely dependent on others feels they have become a burden to the ones they love and would like to be euthanized they should have the right to, it would bring them happiness knowing their loved ones could live their life not having to worry and stress out because of them. Death dealing with abortions and euthanasia should consider the quality of life, the quality of life for the mother and the child if the baby were to be born and the quality of life a terminally ill patient. Abortion and euthanasia greatly affects the quality of life of the human that died, however it also benefits the quality of life of the people around them. When death brings more joy then living I believe a person should have the right to die as they choose. Both abortion and euthanasia uses death for the betterment of society, if a person doesn’t want to live anymore who are we to force them to?

                In regards to abortion and euthanasia death is based on the right of bodily integrity and it is a choice that controls the manner in which death occurs, however in war soldiers give up their right to bodily integrity and the manner in which they die. In today’s society war is inevitable, and with war comes death. For the greater good of society death must be allowed in war, it benefits society in the aspect of security and power. Death in war between soldiers is not right; however it is also not wrong. When a person becomes a soldier they are aware that there is a possibility they might die for their country, and therefore they give up their rights of bodily integrity forfeiting their choice of how they die. In war, the only deaths that are morally alright are the deaths between soldiers or in self defense from civilians that attack, however the death of innocent civilians is wrong. The innocent civilians did not choose to go to war, and did not choose to be put in harm’s way and killing them is wrong. In BBC’s “In an ethical war, whom can you fight?” it states the general rule as “it is unjust to attack non-combats” and “it is unjust to attack indiscriminately, as non-combats may be killed,” which parallels my view on attacking civilians. According to the Civil War Casualties, more American lives were lost during the civil war than any other war, they died for a reason they died fighting for what they believed in. Their deaths were necessary for the betterment of our country; it took force in order for progress and death was unavoidable. Unlike abortion and euthanasia, for the most part death in war is unwanted and doesn’t bring joy, however like abortion and euthanasia death is necessary for the betterment for the overall betterment of society.

                Death is not only necessary in the cycle of life but in some situations it is necessary for the betterment of society. Abortion, euthanasia, and war are circumstances where it is better for society if people die. Everybody has the right to do with their body as they please, in abortion women should have the right to choose if they want their body to support the fetus, in euthanasia people should have the right to choose if they want to die, while in war soldiers have forfeit their right to choose if they want to die or how they die. Death is feared and will come to all of us, it is something that nobody is exempt from.



“Civil War Trust.” Civil War Casualties. Civil War, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.

“Death with Dignity in Oregon, Washington & (soon to Be) Montana.” Euthanasia and the Law in the United States of America. Exit, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.

“In an Ethical War, Whom Can You Fight?” BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 28 May 2013.


Donohue, John J., III, and Steven D. Levitt. “The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime.”The Quarterly Journal of Economics CXVI.2 (2001): 380-420. Web.

Our Life, Our Death!


The following is my personal opinion and believe about death. I stand very strong and firm behind the idea that we must acknowledge that death is necessary in several situations, for the greater good of society and even for the world. This is why we must support abortion and the good that will come if it was ever recognized worldwide as an alternative to other extremes that many go through jut to not have kids. I also believe that war even though it is not pretty and many have died it is what made the world what it is today. Lastly supporting Euthanasia is very important by giving the patient or sick individual the right to end his or her suffering. These three statements can change the world if we all look at the possibilities that we can achieve if we all agree or follow these issues and fight for change for the greater good of society. Though these statements might sound harsh and at times cold hearted to some individuals it can be a new way to look at all the possibilities that we can get from recognizing the need of Abortion, Euthanasia, and War. The possibilities would be endless and very life changing in the choices that many would do around the world.

My believe in the greater good for abortion is that it should be available for all women no matter their background or what their story might be if they are in need of an abortion to prevent a child or themselves from suffering it should be available. My perspective is that abortion will help woman and the society as a whole understand the fear of having an abortion and why we need to overcome this medieval stigma of woman being looked down upon for having this procedures done. If we support abortion it will make greater sense for both young and older woman to stop having children without being able to provide for them, but most importantly to prevent their own suffering and the idea of shamefulness and suffering that a young woman would have. But just like author Judith J. Thompson wrote “abortion does not violate the fetus’s right to life but merely deprives the fetus of the use of the pregnant woman’s body”. I believe that this statement explains what abortion is truly about. That the issue of abortion has nothing to do with the taking of the life of a fetus but that abortion is simply the choosing not to subject the body to something that you don’t want wronging inside of you.

Another believe that I very strongly believe in and why death is necessary is the need for war! I believe that war and death go together like peanut butter and jam, that if we support our troops we also need to support the fact that some of them will not be coming back alive. My own personal perspective is that war now a day should be fought smarter with the least amount of fatalities for the good of the war. I also believe that fatalities in war are becoming less and less common than in the early 20th century and even thought our technology and the way we think over the years has made us smarter death is something that we still can’t cheat. In my opinion abortion is the deprivation of a woman’s body to give life to the fetus and the purpose of war is not to kill the enemy, but rather to deprive the enemy of his ability to wage war and to destroy others’ rights. I think this link is very similar and we should be willing accept these facts completely for the greater good of society and for a greater understanding of death.

My last stance is that euthanasia is for the greater good of society if we all had the right to choose euthanasia as a way out of the pain and suffering that some individuals suffer if given a prognosis of a short amount to life that would led them to not be able to care for themselves towards the final days and would make them and their families suffer euthanasia would be the best choice to end the suffering. I believe that this gives a voice the individuals who are suffering who just want the pain and suffering to end and don’t want to hurt any longer. Euthanasia is a part of life even though we fear death so much we still have to strong enough to understand death and know that we all must go one day and if we are ever in the position where we are suffering and our family is seeing us suffer what would we do in that situation if there was no way out?
In my opinion euthanasia is very similar to war it is a battle of emotions and of rights and decisions that we must take and in the end it will result in a death. It is a life changing decision for the greater good. Euthanasia is not pretty and it is not ugly, it is a choice to some this choice means freedom and to others this choice means an end to their story. Even though many will not agree that euthanasia is a part of life and that at times it is the best remedy for some on their death bed suffering they still might view this action as brutal and human, as an assisted suicide even though it ends their pain. That’s why we must agree euthanasia is the best choice for those individuals who are suffering tremendously and want a way to end their suffering.
In conclusion death is a part of many moral obligations that we all must understand, such as the moral obligation towards abortion which stops a fetus from growing for the greater good of the individual carrying it. Another obligation is, War were many have died for the greater good of a believe, or cause and finally euthanasia where individuals choose death for the greater good of others. We must all have a moral obligation towards death and acknowledge that death is necessary in several situations for the greater good.

1. A defense of Abortion. From Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 1, no. 1, pg 47-50, 54-66. Copyright by Princeton University Press.

2. Cavender, N. and Kahane, H. (2010). Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: the use of reason in everyday life. 11th ed.. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co

3. Boomin, D. 2003. A Defense of Abortion. Cambridge University Press, CH4

4. O’Connell, Sanjida (7 January 2004). “Apes of war…is it in our genes?” The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-02-06. Analysis of chimpanzee war behavior

5. “Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Australia”. The World Federation of Right to Die Societies. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2008.

Rights: Humans and Animals


During this past semester, we have discussed numerous topics that I consider to be very important to society as a whole.  Abortion, euthanasia and animal rights were three of the most controversial topics.  The three aforementioned topics are quite important since they deal specifically with human life and the life of animals across the board.  As for abortion and euthanasia, how can we allow this to be an option?  Society should not allow this to occur, especially with your tax dollars being spent to support someone’s irresponsibility or choice to have unprotected sex.  Euthanasia hits close to home because we too must ensure we take care of our elderly, those who loved us, raised us, and contributed to whom we are today.  An animal right is a value I hold close to my heart.  From childhood, we have always had pets, specifically a dog-named Duke.  This dog was my best friend, always brightened my day and was ready to play catch.  Today, I have expanded my views on animal rights to include cows and any other animal us humans will consume in order to survive.  In the following analysis, I will argue that we must protect human life to the fullest extent possible as well as for animals-rights since they cannot speak for themselves.

Having demonstrated the importance of life, abortion is wrong, seriously immoral, except in rare cases, and it is in the same moral category as killing an innocent adult human being.[1]  Roe v. Wade in 1973 became and remains the most controversial ruling in US Court history.[2]  The ruling provided regulations for elective and medically required abortions.  During my younger years, the thought of abortions didn’t bother me, but now after discussing the topic in class I have had a change of heart and now live with a conservative view.  According to Don Marquis, a philosophy professor at the University of Kansas, “The loss of one’s life deprives one of all experiences, activities, projects and enjoyments that would otherwise have constituted one’s future.  Therefore, killing someone is wrong, primarily because the killing inflicts (one of) the greatest possible losses on the victim.”  I agree whole-heartedly with his argument and we all must ensure we protect the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves.  A reading from this past semester about the violinist being connected to a human for nine months brought up several important points.  First, nine months is not a long period if you compare that to our life expectancy, which is now just shy of 80 years old.  I believe that disconnecting a healthy person from the violinist who would only need your help for a short time period is selfish and dead wrong.  For the other side of life, we should allow abortions for victims of rape or for woman who could possibly die from birthing a child.  I do not hold those two categories as being immoral.  The rape victim did not choose to suffer this violent act; thus becoming pregnant.  As for the mother-to-be, possibly chose to procreate and have good intentions to raise her child.  For unseen medical reasons, birthing a child could cause her own demise and that is not within the scope of my argument.  Women have an option to birth a child and then surrender the baby for adoption.  Killing an innocent baby is morally wrong and inhumane.  Just as I have argued for the protection of life, let’s discuss the same issue but at the opposite end of the spectrum, euthanasia.

Building on that same principle of life we must also oppose euthanasia, which is a controversial topic within our country.  On October 27, 1997 Oregon enacted the Death with Dignity Act, which allows terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.[3]  YouTube published a video of an individual named Roger Sanger, who wished to die with dignity in 2009.  Roger was given the option to change his mind and remain with the living.  Roger declined and chose to drink a deadly dose of Nembutal, which put him to sleep then death.  Although Roger appeared to die a painless death, this video brought tears my eyes and left me wondering why someone would choose death.  Roger was accompanied by family and friends which none took the time to try and convince him to change his mind.  J. Gay-Williams stated euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide are irreversible and it works against our own interest if we practice it or allow it to be practiced on us.[4]  It should be known that those who die due to an allergic reaction from a medicine or their body did not respond to treatment is excluded from this argument.  Life is the most precious thing we have so we must protect it to the fullest.  We all have motives in life and by allowing someone to commit suicide thus making our bankroll fat, is a damn shame.  A person dying relieves us of the responsibly to care for them.  We now have more time to do what we want instead of take care of someone who took care of us such as your Mother and Father.  As for these two issues, we should protect life and encourage those that wish to die, to think about what they are doing.  It maybe possible they are not thinking clearly about their actions so we must ensure they know exactly what is going on, so they don’t leave earth prematurely.

Building further on the two previous topics, we should also support animal-rights.  We have already mentioned that abortion and euthanasia are both morally wrong and although animals cannot communicate with humans, we know they feel pain.  We must ensure they are protected from inhumane treatment and not purposely abused or injured.[5]  In order for humans to survive, we do not have to consume meat.  By eating meat, which is a good source of iron, we tend to live a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.  I don’t mean overeating but to a certain extent eating meat is fine.  According to Kant, we have no “direct duties” to animals because they lack personal attributes such as rationality, self-consciousness, and free will.[6]  I do agree with Kant, but that does not give us the right to abuse them in anyway.  This part of my argument sounds hypocritical, so let me further explain myself.  I am not opposing eating meat, but I am opposing the abuse and torture these animals suffer as they die.  If we must eat meat, let’s treat these animals humanly and provide them a painless death.  In April, the Stanford Slaughterhouse located in Central California, was shutdown due to inhumane cattle treatment.  A video surfaced showing workers abusing cattle.  I do consume meat, not very much, but the little amount I do brings to light the importance of this topic and how much we should protect animals from abuse and torture.  I would like to think all animals are slaughtered in a humane manner but I know that isn’t the case.  Unfortunately, animal rights is a rarely, if ever spoken, discussed and only comes to light when a celebrity makes it known they support animal-rights.

Life is the most important thing to us and we should protect it to the end.  Abortion, euthanasia and torturing animals are morally wrong.  We have an obligation to help those who cannot do so for themselves such as those babies [fetus] under 15 weeks old.  As for our elderly, they too deserve our help.  After all, they are someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, father, or mother, who took care of us as newborns, infants or young kids.  As for animal-rights, we owe them the same since they are too living animals.  We have an ethic and moral obligation to reduce, if not completely eliminate, all torture and abuse us humans inflict on animals.  Starting today, join me and stand against abortion, euthanasia and animal abuse.

[1] Marquis, J. (1989). Why abortion is immoral. Journal of philosophy, 86, 183-202.

[2] Roe v wade: Key us abortion ruling. (2004, December 10). BBC News. Retrieved from

[3] Oregon Department of Public Health, (1997). Death with dignity act. Retrieved from State of Oregon website:

[4] Gay-Williams, J. (1979). The wrongfulness of euthanasia. Intervention and reflection: Basic issues in medical ethics, 709-711.

[5] Romero, E. (Performer) (2013). Animal rights [Radio series episode]. In Valley public radio. Bakersfield, CA: Valley public radio. Retrieved from

[6] Kant, I. (1963). Lecture on ethics. (pp. 239-241). Routledge Publishing.

Censorship: Why Do We Need It?

     The United States is a country filled with censorship from television, radio, and advertisements to liberties and freedoms.  Certain materials, which society deems to be indecent or too risqué for the general public, are restricted or banned.  Violence in advertising and pornography are restricted based on their content.  Advocates for censorship argue that without it, our children would be susceptible to these resources.  They also argue that allowing appalling material to exist in society will eventually lead to desensitization of its content.  If this is true, then hypothetically, boys who grow up watching porn will subconsciously develop the belief that women are supposed to be submissive.  Religious and spiritual groups say prostitution has no purpose in society and only breeds bad morals.  All of these arguments stem from a lack of education and a fear of the unknown.  On a philosophical and practical level, censorship should not exist in any aspects of entertainment or life.  Altering or prohibiting certain materials can seem productive, but often leads to ignorance in society.  Laws should only be made to restrict freedoms when those freedoms cause physical harm to others or attempts to incite violence.  I am not advocating for a world in which society lets risqué materials govern humanity, but a world in which all people understand all aspects of its culture.  Responsibility lies on society to teach children and each other what is real and not real.  In the following analysis, I will argue that since censorship prohibits progress in society, we must support the legalization and regulation of porn, prostitution, and violence and sexism in advertising, in the general public.

In order for censorship not to prohibit progress, the American people must support the existence of the porn industry.  Porn is adult entertainment that does not always avoid the eyes of children.  In the 21st century, porn is very accessible and children and adolescents often get their hands on it.  Is the problem that teens watch pornography or that they do not understand all of its conditions?  The problem is not that it exists; because on a pure level, pornography is entertainment just like other films and television shows.  The problem is the way pornography shows life as a fantasy.  Pornography is not real and therefore if misunderstood, can yield harmful implications.  Some of the arguments against pornography are the industry is grotesque, does not contribute anything positive to society, and commercializes women, making them sexual objects.  Arguments like these are not first-class arguments to restrict pornography in society, but rather arguments to have full transparency.  Discussions, based on these claims about pornography, further progress when it comes to gender equality.  Claims advocating for anti-censorship are not pro-pornography, but state that “great works of art and literature would be banned; the First Amendment would be breached; political expression would be suppressed; and a creative culture requires freedom of speech.”[i]  Censorship on pornography is fundamentally against the First Amendment.  Regulation within the industry is acceptable because we want to protect the individuals working in the industry.  Nevertheless, the solution to the problems of pornography is education about the matter.  The solution is to provide education methods that teach children and other individuals what is real.  Nudity should not be restricted on television.  The ratings system currently in place is a good system in which pornography can be rated for mature audiences.  It is not the government’s job to restrict pornography but the responsibility of schools and adults to educate their children about.  Looking at other countries where nudity and sex are allowed on television, there are much lower pregnancy rates.   As of 2007, the birth rate among teens in the United States was 42.5 % compared to only 9.9 % in Germany.[ii]  Disregarding materials like pornography as offensive or indecent in our country, can lead to harms like teenage pregnancy.  If teenage pregnancy is such a prevalent issue in the United States, what is the answer?  The public school system as well as general morality of American society has failed at properly educating teenagers about sex.  People will end up making their own decisions in the end, but they can at least be guided in the right direction.  Education and discussion can prevent the harms described by advocates for censorship without restricting individual freedoms.

Building on the claim that censorship is harmful to society, we must support prostitution as a legitimate industry.  The problems people have with prostitution are:  it is not always a choice, it is not a good model to set for women, and it instills the belief that a woman’s job is to service a man.  These arguments are against sex slavery, not prostitution.  There is a difference because in its purest form, prostitution is a choice.  Lars Ericsson claims that people are against prostitution because the industry sells something that is so fundamental to humans, which makes it indecent.  We have to pay for food and clothing, but we do not have an essential problem with this because it is not seen as indecent.  He states, “That we have to pay for the satisfaction of our most basic appetites is no reason for socially stigmatizing those individuals whose profession it is to cater to those appetites.”[iii]  Prostitution is just like any other service industry.  What does this mean for censorship if prostitution is legal?  Advertisements would be able to broadcast on television and posted on billboards.  The harms of the sex work industry currently are the dangers for women.  In the story The Bacchae by Euripedes, Pentheus attempts to keep the dirty worship of the Dionysus, out of his kingdom, “But don’t infect me with your madness.  As for the one who in this foolishness has been your teacher, I’ll bring him to justice.”[iv]  Pentheus is eventually murdered by the very thing he tries to keep out of his kingdom.  This story is a great example of having a sort of “controlled chaos” in society.  The United States cannot let prostitution have a strong hold on society, but cannot try to get rid of it either.  Banishing prostitution only makes it more unsafe for women and more of a problem for the public.  The American people have the responsibility to treat the sex work industry like any other industry.  Recognizing prostitution as a legitimate industry makes it regulated.  By not censoring advertisements for prostitution, the public can further recognize it as a service industry.  We can disestablish this taboo in society by legitimizing prostitution.

In supporting anti-censorship, along with pornography and prostitution, we must also support violence and sexism in advertising.  There is a problem in advertising with stereotypes that are purported.  Advertising methods are reflective of what catches the public eye.  I agree that the violent advertising is not a good fad, but disagree that the way to change that is by censoring ads.  Advocates against these advertising methods want truthful advertising that does not oppress women.  They believe companies are very irresponsible for purporting these ideas.  Companies have the obligation to sell their product.  We cannot blame them for the methods that make an impact on consumers.  We can only blame ourselves.  Charlotte Hilton Andersen, a writer for the Huffington Post, says “I have found myself flipping mindlessly through a fashion mag only to be jerked out of my reverie by a bizarre ad.”[v]  She would not buy the product, but she recognizes the engagement of “bizarre” advertising.  Censorship of sexist and violent ads does not address the problem of sexism and violence in culture.  Individuals can be harmed by this type of advertising.  However, the root of the problem starts with our culture.  Including education about the media and advertisements in elementary schools has the potential to eliminate sexism and violence.  Since advertisements are often reflective of society, the best way to change them is to change our culture.  A former New York City mayor was quoted by the New York Times saying, “Our laws forbid the publication of any libelous, obscene, indecent, immoral, or impure picture or reading matter.  Is not that enough?”[vi]  Obviously it is not enough to solve the female inferiority complex in our culture.  The attempt to eliminate pornography, prostitution, violence and sexism is an attempt to ignore our problems.

Since censorship is antithetical to progress, we must permit pornography, prostitution, and violence and sexism in advertising, in order for humanity to grow.  We need to realize there is a difference between regulation and censorship.  Regulation makes the thing safe, whereas censorship eliminates the thing entirely.  There are two problems with censorship:  Is there a stopping point, and does it help humanity?  The answer to both of those questions is no.  Government agencies think the appropriate response to problems like violence and sexism is to eliminate anything which has the consistency of being violent or sexist.  Through censorship, the government creates the same problem they are trying to combat in these subjects.  Individuals do not have moral obligations to keep “indecent” materials private.  Society has no right to determine morals when it comes to a woman’s right to her body.  If we want less violence and oppression, we need to change those things.  We cannot make laws that restrict individual freedoms, unless they physically harm others.  We can make laws forcing companies to tell us what is real and what is not, without prohibiting their right to advertise.  Schools should be required to educate on subjects like pornography, prostitution, and advertising.  The biggest harm for children would be for society to protect them from the problems.  Children will grow up one day to have their own beliefs and make their own decisions; the best civilization can do is to make sure they are well educated to do so.   With the lack of censorship, we have the ability to solve the problems of our culture without restricting personal freedoms.  Society needs discussion and progression, not condemnation and stagnation.

[i] McElroy, Wendy. “A Feminist Overview of Pornography.” A Feminist Overview of Pornography. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 May 2013.

[ii] United States: (2010). Births: Final data for 2007. National Vital Statistics Reports, 58 (24). Other Countries: United Nations Statistical Division. Demographic Yearbook 2007. New York: United Nations.

[iii] Ericsson, Lars O. “Charges Against Prostitution: An Attempt at a Philosophical Assessment.” Ethics 90.3 (1980): 367-70. Print.

[iv] Euripedes, David Grene, and Richmond Lattimore. Euripedes. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1992. Print.

[v] Andersen, Charlotte Hilton. “Dolce & Gabbana Says Women Like It Rough.” The Huffington Post., 22 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 May 2013.

[vi] “Censorship and Advertising.” Censorship and Advertising – View Article – New York Times, 16 Feb. 1919. Web. 24 May 2013.