Visna Abortion case: Visna was 27 weeks pregnant.



6th ED.,Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Company,2000, Page 126, Decision Scenario #1

For months doctors told eleven-year-old Visna (as we’ll call her) and her parents that her abdominal pains were nothing but indigestion. Then in July 1998 the truth finally emerged—Visna was twenty-seven weeks pregnant.

Visna’s family had emigrated from India to the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights, Michigan, only the previous summer. Her parents found factory jobs and rented a two-bedroom apartment, and Visna shared one of the rooms with Hari, her sixteen-year-old brother. Sometime during the winter after their arrival in the United States, Visna told her parents that Hari had raped her, but this emerged only after Visna, who had turned twelve, was found to be pregnant.

As soon as Bisn’s parents learned her condition, they made plans to take her to Kansas for an abortion. Visna would have to have a late-term abortion, and because Michigan law bans almost all abortions after twenty-four weeks, her family would have to take her out of state. But their plans were frustrated when they were leaked to a family court judge. Charges of parental negligence were filed by prosecutors against her parents, and the court immediately removed Visna from her family and made her a ward of the state.

At a court hearing, Visna’s abortiondoctor argued that if her pregnancy were allowed to continue, it could cause her both physical and psychological damage. A psychologist testified that because Visna was a Hindu, if she were forced to have an illegitimate child, it would make her unfit for marriage by another Hindu. Her parents also expressed their worry that if Visna had a child, the child might suffer from genetic abnormalities and, in particular, might be mentally retarded, because her brother was the father.

At the end of the hearing the prosecution announced it was convinced pregnancy might endanger Visna’s life and dropped the negligence charge against her parents. Visna was reunited with her family, and her parents pursued their original plan of taking her to Kansas. In Wichita, Dr. George Tiller, who had been shot in 1993 by a pro-life activist, stopped the fetus’s heart and used drugs to induce labor, thus performing a “partial-birth” abortion.

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  1. Reading Comprehension: Visna Abortion

For this case what would each of the following authors hold and WHY :  Provide a paragraph on each explaining their positions and use some quotations.

  • A.  Susan Sherwin,
  • B.  Sidney Callahan,
  • C.  Peter Alward

Find descriptions of their positions here:

  1. Critical Thinking: Visna Abortion

Using the DIALECTICAL PROCESS state what your ethical position would be on the Case of Visna and why. You are to take a position and defend it. You should use some ethical principle to decide what you think is the morally correct thing to do. You must state those principles and explain how they have been applied to the situation. You should indicate that you have rejected alternative positions to your own and the reasons why you have done so.  In so doing you need to enunciate clearly the values and ethical principle(s) you are using to both reject the alternative positions and to defend or support your own.- visna abortion 

Use this template or form to make certain that you include each part of the process-parts a to e

Label your parts with the letters a to e to make very clear that you have done each part.


Dialectical thinking: the 5 parts- visna abortion

  • a. Take a position on this question or issue Be as exact as you can be.  Be precise in your use of language (ethical principles and values).
  • b.  Provide the reasons why you think this position is better defended by reason and evidence than are the alternative positions Position defended using reasoning (ethical principles and values) in support of the judgment (conclusion of the  argument).  You state the reasons why the position you take makes sense and has evidence and reasons (ethical principles and values) to support it other than your feelings or personal preference or your opinion or what you were brought up to believe or what just about everyone you know thinks or (visna abortion) believes.   Philosophers have offered such reasons (ethical principles and values) and evidence for the positions they have taken and you should consider them and if you agree you can and should so state them in support of your own position.- visna abortion
  • c.  State the reasons why you found the other positions flawed or less defensible than the one you are defending
  • d.  State the criticisms of your position- visna abortion 
  • e.   Respond to the criticisms- rebuttal- how do you defend your position in light of those criticisms
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