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Locke 2 Essay, Research Paper

Michael Weston

Philosophy 2329

May 1, 2000

Locke on Abortion Clinic Bombings

Abortion is one of the most controversial issues in the world today. Many mothers are becoming pregnant unexpectantly, and they are not ready for all the responsibilities of being a mother. Because these mothers cannot take care of these children, they elect to have an abortion to solve the problem. Many people believe that these mothers should have a right to make this decision, however, there are thousands of people who feel that this is immoral and unethical. Because there is no law against abortions in America, many of these people take matters into their own hands by resorting to violence. The doctors performing the abortions and the clinics where they are being performed are now the targets of these protestors. Many of these protestors feel that they are doing the right thing when they commit these acts. By terrifying clinic workers across the country, extremists are winning the war over abortion without ever having to pass legislation or sway the Supreme Court.

Because abortions are so controversial, there have been many opinions given on the matter. John Locke, a known philosopher, explains that everybody has forbearance rights. Forbearance rights are the rights that every human has. Locke explains that these rights cannot be taken from you. With forbearance rights, you have the right to do anything with your property as you choose. If you wish to donate a kidney, then you have the right to do so because it is your property. Locke also feels that because the fetus inside the mother is not actually a living person, then it is classified as property. And because the fetus is your property, than you can do anything you wish with it. Locke states that we have “a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man”. John A. Simmons points out that the concern to protect persons form the consequences for their own voluntary choices, on which inalienability theses seem to rest, is a concern apparently inconsistent with Locke’s arguments for the basic value of freedom and free choice and execution of a life plan. Locke explains that a given person’s rights define the area within which he is morally at liberty to do as he chooses. If we understand our basic moral rights as Locke did, and we should, those rights do vindicate a broad and radical doctrine of informed consent within medical ethics such as abortion.


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