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Essay on Ethical and Philosophical Issues: Analysis of Roe v Wade

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Philosophy is composed of the 3 branches: Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Value Theory. Metaphysics is the branch that studies the nature of reality. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies the scope of human knowledge. Value theory is comprised of two distinct subsets: ethics and aesthetics. Ethics is the branch that evaluates human interaction. Aesthetics is the study of beauty and art. Philosophy is considered a second-order discipline because it examines problems other disciplines deal with. Metaethics is the branch of ethics that studies the foundations of morality. Metaethics discusses whether or not moral truths exist. Normative ethics is the study of how to act ethically, specifically what we should or should not do. Finally, Applied ethics is taking the knowledge we learned from metaethics and normative ethics and applying it to real-world situations. Normative ethics discusses the actions of our moral behavior. This version of ethics provides guidelines for the ideal way of living by asking the question “What I ought to do?”. Normative ethics uses these guidelines to then rate the action on a scale of morality. Applied Ethics deals with aspects of moral action and works to determine criteria that they can be discussed in an unbiased lens.

These ethical fields can be used to analyze many issues that we as a society struggle with today such as abortion. Abortions have been performed for thousands of years and were legal in the United States during the colonial period. In late 1800, Conservative states began passing laws that made abortion illegal. These laws could have been motivated by a lack of resources to care for the newly born children. However, during this time receiving an abortion was a risky practice and would often be performed by people without medical licenses in unsterile environments. With today's technology, abortions are safe and reliable. By the time the medical field had caught up and made these vital changes, most states had outlawed abortion. The women seeking abortions in these states had to get the operation from illegal practitioners who did not use these updated medical advances.

Back alley abortions happen to this day and are often deadly. Many people in the medical field are big supporters of legalizing abortions. They take the stance that if abortions are illegal women will not stop wanting abortions and only increase the occurrence of back alley abortions. Criminalizing abortion does not lower the number of women who wanted abortions. Many women will die trying to self-induce abortions or by going through abortion in unsafe and unsanitary ways. Roe v Wade was the landmark case that made it possible for women to obtain safe and legal abortions from medical professionals. Roe v Wade made getting abortions much safer lowering the pregnancy related death rate and injury.

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Roe v Wade arose in Texas where state laws had prohibited Texan women from receiving abortions and many women found themselves restoring unsafe illegal abortions. During this time battle between pro-lifers and pro-choicers was at its most volatile. Abortion clinics were commonly protested, harassing women trying to receive care, vandalism and blocking access to clinics. Later that decade there were bombings, physical attacks, and even murders that would threaten anyone who supported abortions or provided abortion treatment. Since Roe v Wade, the supreme court has restricted abortion through the ruling of “ Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 established that states can restrict pre-viability abortions. Restrictions can be placed on first-trimester abortions in ways that are not medically necessary, as long as the restrictions do not place an “undue burden” on women seeking abortion services.” These restrictions include parental involvement, mandatory waiting periods, and biased counseling.

I believe in the consequentialist theory of judging actions on their morality. Consequentialism is a branch of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act is one that will produce a good outcome or consequence. A consequence of criminalizing abortion is the loss of life of women seeking abortions through back alley abortions. Which is why it could be seen as unjust or immoral from a consequentialist point of view.

Some would say that abortion is the death of a baby and that the consequence is unjust so therefore abortion is unjust. However, I would retaliate with the fact that either way women who want an abortion will obtain one it is the interest in prioritizing their life above that of a fetus. I believe people should have full control of their own bodies and be able to deal with the consequences of those actions. When determining if abortion should be legalized we should always look at the results of those actions. We need to see which result will pose the most good for the people around us and then make sure that option is executed.

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Essay on Ethical and Philosophical Issues: Analysis of Roe v Wade. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 5, 2024, from
“Essay on Ethical and Philosophical Issues: Analysis of Roe v Wade.” Edubirdie, 27 Dec. 2022,
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Essay on Ethical and Philosophical Issues: Analysis of Roe v Wade [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Dec 27 [cited 2024 Mar 5]. Available from:
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