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Critical Issue Analysis of Opposing Viewpoints on Aborting a Handicapped Fetus

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Critical Issue Analysis of Opposing Viewpoints

On Aborting a Handicapped Fetus

The continued debate between anti-abortion lobbyists and pro-choice activists regarding the ethics of abortion has ensured a steady stream of written opinions. With fairly recent advances in prenatal screening, doctors can detect whether a fetus is healthy or not and more abortions are being performed due to this awareness. In turn, the issue of whether aborting a handicapped fetus is ethical or not is being much debated. Paul Greenberg, an editorial page editor of the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette and a nationally syndicated columnist, shares his opinion in an essay titled "Aborting a Handicapped Fetus is Unethical." (1996) "Perfect Babies via Abortion" Arizona Republic. Ann Bradley, a writer for Living Marxism-a British magazine, is the author of an opposing essay titled "Aborting a Handicapped Fetus is Ethical."(1995) "Why shouldn't women abort disabled fetuses?" Living Marxism.

Greenberg's (1996) main concern is that society is proceeding down a slippery slope to the use of abortion to get rid of "imperfect" babies. He believes the legalization of abortion in general has helped create a society that regards death as an acceptable solution to life's problems.

Bradley (1995) believes that it is not unethical for a woman to abort a handicapped fetus because the woman would be responsible for raising the handicapped child. The theoretical "interests of the fetus," she feels, do not outweigh the real rights of the mother.

Both authors use facts that do not necessarily support their points of view. For instance, Greenberg (1996) uses the fact that Dr. Joycelyn Elders is a former surgeon general, however, he goes on to bash Elders as a role model and uses sarcasm as a way to oppose her (Elders) pro-choice viewpoint. Bradley's (1995) use of factual material includes the fact that a woman named Erin Pizzey is a former feminist campaigner. Bradley (1995) then curtly disagrees with Pizzey's strangely sweet description of Pizzey's connection with her own Down's Syndrome affected child.

In contrast to factual statements, both essays are loaded with the opinions of the authors. For example, (Greenberg) 1996, expresses his irritation with Dr. Joycelyn Elders, a former surgeon general who is pro-choice and who has strongly voiced her support of abortion.

This is seen most in his satirical statement, "the good doctor (Elders) has said so many things one can't forget (as much as you might like to") Greenberg (1996). As well as in this statement:

"The doctors simply aborted a large number of babies/fetus found to have Down, thus keeping down the cost of health care and raising the general Quality of Life. And the only thing this marked gain in public health cost was life itself. Greenberg (1996).

In Bradley's essay, her opinion can be most understood through this statement:

"...the interests of the fetus

...

...

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