Sample Essay on Abortion; Warren versus Noonan

Abortion; Warren versus Noonan

Abortion is not a new argument in the moral scope, and whether it is legal or not does not help an individual pick a side in the debate. Philosophers and religious leaders have a varying opinion on the matter. Persons against the act argue that it is murder; therefore, it is wrong by law and religion. Conversely, others believe that it is a personal decision to be made by the mother and father since they are the sole custodians of a baby. However, other individuals assert that there are other options such as adoption. John Noonan and Mary Anne Warren are two such philosophers who have opposing opinions on the matter. Markedly, the two scholars agree that abortion is a problem of the right to life; however, while Noonan argues against the act, Warren thinks that it is a justified deed.


Noonan: The abortion issue is to be tackled from the viewpoint of a fetus as a human being. In this regard, I will clarify that any being born of two humans is of the same species, which qualifies a fetus to be viewed as a human being (Noonan, 1967). Consequently, any act against such a fetus or embryo is murder.

Warren: Allow me to disagree with your argument. I would refer to unborn babies as a collection of cells that do not fit the human description until they are nine months old. I cannot refer to abortion as the murder of a person because there are numerous criteria used to determine that a creature is human. Notably, a fetus is the same species as people but not yet a developed person (Warren, 1973). Specifically, one should have conscious experience, emotions, reasonability, communication, self-awareness, and a moral compass to be human. Admittedly, you realize that a fetus has none of the six functions of a complete human being, which would qualify abortion as murder.

Noonan:  I still stand by my initial argument that since it is conceived from two humans, a fetus can become human. Agreeably, the embryo is still young, but that does not change the fact that it has the potential to experience emotion and become sentimental, which are human traits. In this regard, killing it at the development stage denies such a being the chance to become a person. It is absurd to claim that somebody with experiences and memories is more deserving of life than one who has none. Is this to say that when an adult loses his or her memory, he is not fit to live?

Warren: You dwell so much on the fact that abortion is unfair and a form of murder because the species in question is human. Nevertheless, if your argument is correct, we should stop killing animals as well. As an opponent of abortion, you dwell on the matter of humanity and the taking an innocent life. You must agree that animals that are killed for food are also innocent, have memory, and the capacity to balance the ecosystem as long as they are alive. However, if you study a zygote, you will find that the creature is still in the formative stages. Nonetheless, being human is more than being of the species since one should be a person with emotions and morals.

Noonan: Concerning animals, I believe that they are killed for a greater purpose than food, which is to balance the ecosystem. If one species such as the zebra outnumbers other grazers in the jungle, the land carrying capacity will be adversely affected. Thus, I cannot compare fetal termination and animal hunting. Abortion is avoidable because there are people who still seek children even though others seek to terminate their pregnancies. Okay, let us assume that I agree with you, if a zygote has no feelings or memories, it qualifies as a member of species; therefore, killing it is not terminating a human life. Infants are born with the potential to become human since they are non-human from the beginning. If your argument is true, this justifies the killing of infants since they are merely members of a species rather than actual beings.

Warren: Let us agree to disagree because if abortion were legalized, the rates of infanticide would reduce. Think about it, if confines of the law and religion force a woman to keep her pregnancy, what are the chances of reducing intentional infanticide?

Noonan: I feel that your idea to value beings about memory and capacity to communicate is invalid because killing the zygote will prevent it from achieving its future potential. In brief, I believe that any injurious act against a helpless being is unfair and murderous.

Warren: On an opposing note, murder is committed on an actual living being and not a potential human. People value fetuses because of their resemblance and membership to the Homo sapiens species. Therefore, it is inaccurate to refer to abortion as murder.


The two candidates agree that abortion is a life and death issue. Furthermore, they appear to have a firm stand on murder as a crime. Markedly, Noonan presents an acceptable argument, but Warren’s ideas appear more appealing. This dialogue shows that any action against human species should be illegalized since the person in question is unaware, and his or her voice is ignored. Admittedly, Noonan is correct to assume that any product of human fertilization is a valid being regardless of dependency or capacity to function fully as a human being. Markedly agreeing with Mary Warren is tantamount to permitting infanticide since she bases her argument on the fact that a zygote is non-human. Based on her argument, abortion is wrong because it denies a potential human being the capacity to live and make memories.

What we owe animals

Indeed, the human abortion is similar to the immoral acts that scientists commit to the animals. The animals also have the moral statuses that humans have. Animals are treated as non-humans and sometimes subjected to immoral processes similar to abortion of the human fetuses. Philosophers have agreed that indeed, the non-human animals are different from the human beings in various ways. However, the philosophers have maintained that the differences do not provide philosophical defense for the immoral activities committed to the animals. While trying to protect the human fetus, we must also consider our acts to the non-human animals.


Noonan:          As others argue that fetuses are non-human, many individuals believe that the animals are also mere things. Nonetheless, there are different perspectives on human relationships with the animals. It is indicated that subject to moral scrutiny; animals also deserve respect and protection as humans. I believe that animals are individuals that share the same lives with the human beings. As such, animals should be treated as people who equally struggle for virtues of life. Therefore, our actions towards the animals should be balanced with the actions of human beings.

Warren:           On the other side, philosophers have strongly defended the non-human animals while claiming that eating the animals or treating them inhumanly is wrong.Moral communities must treat animals and fetuses maturely with compassion, sensitivity, and kindness. In most cases, the scientists view the animals as tools of research. It is imperative to understand that the animals are individuals with whom we share the common life. Ideally, the feminist’s groups have likened the inhuman treatment of the fetuses to the act of abortion.

Noonan:          We believe that approaches for determining the moral standards for the animals are biased. The flawed establishments have led to serious issues against the animals.For far too long, humans have used the animals for their benefits. Isolation of humans makes it difficult for the animals to enjoy equality in the moral societies. Researchers argue that attributing greater or lesser moral is not fair as it gives biased treatment to humans. Therefore, ecological feminists maintain that both humans and animals must be treated equally. Scientific studies have targeted the primates and other mammals for the benefits of establishing diseases and medicine. However, no one has considered the ramifications of such practices to the animals.

Warren:           On the contrary, we are not treating the animals the way they should be treated Infecting non-human primates with HIV or infecting the macaques with viruses is inhuman. Such practices have no philosophical defenses and must be considered non-human. Animals must be accorded equal respect as to the humans.

Noonan:          We owe animals most of what is described in the utilitarian theory. As human beings, we must consider the non-human organisms as our equal. We must be able to apply the utilitarian theory in non-speciesists manner. The suffering of the animals should be seen as suffering to human individuals. Rational behaviors are therefore encouraged towards the non-human animals to ensure that the animals are equally protected as humans. Assuming that the animals do not feel pain or that they feel a little pain is irrational thinking. Animals are equal to the human beings in many ways. Despite the visible differences between humans and the non-human animals, it is evident that animals also require special protection and care. As certain individuals consider fetuses to be non-human, they must also consider that life commences as fetuses. Additionally, they should respect the animals and their contribution to the ecosystem.


Cavalieri, P., &Woollard, C. (2004). The animal question: Why nonhuman animals deserve human rights. Oxford [England: Oxford University Press.

Haraway, D. (1988). Situated knowledge: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist studies14(3), 575-599.

Noonan Jr, J. T. (1967). Abortion and the Catholic Church: A Summary History. Nat. LF12, 85.

Nussbaum, M. C. (2006). The moral status of animals. The Chronicle of higher education52(22), B6-B8.

Warren, M. A. (1973). On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion. The Monist, 43-61.