The 1 999 film, “Cider House Rules”, directed by Lease Hailstorm and based on a novel written in 1985 by John Irving, portrays the respective of abortions back when women did not have the right to choose. The movie takes place during World War II in America, when the struggle between women and society over the laws of abortion was the most evident. It is with consideration of our history, and the examples depicted In the movie “Cider House Rules,” that I believe In each woman’s right to choose whether or not abortion Is meant for their particular situation.
There has always been a heated debate on human rights, and that of a woman and her fetus. The question to whom should have the right to choose and the right to life is where this argument has continued to go back and Roth. “Cider House Rules” gives a modern perspective on abortions during the past, and allows us to appreciate the rights we have now in a contemporary society. Unlike the present, during the sass’s when the movies time frame was based, abortions were illegal and women did not have the right to choose.
No matter what the circumstances, a woman had to carry the fetus to full term; her only options being to keep it or to give It up for adoption. At that time, there was no other legal choice. Without options, women during this era would set out to find a doctor who would illegally abort their fetus for them. Considering the national ban of contraceptives was not uplifted until 1965, the only legal way for a woman to avoid pregnancy was through abstinence (Impressionable). This does not account for the unavoidable impregnation from rape or incest.
The uncertainty and inability to protect your body from having to bear an unwanted child is why each case should be determined separately. Women deserve the right to choose, because the law is unable to acknowledge and determine each case individually. “Cider House Rules” showcases many of these situations. The movie is a testament of a young man trying to find his lace in American society. Along the way, his morals and beliefs are tested. Homer Wells, who was twice adopted and returned, is raised by the orphanage doctor, Wilbur Larch.
Larch quickly realizes Homer’s potential and with his utilitarianism ethics In which he believed that, moot have to be of use,” began to teach Homer how to be an unlicensed doctor (Hailstorm, 1999). Being trained specifically In the field of genealogy, DRP. Larch performed Illegal abortions for women and believed In a woman’s right to happiness and the ability to choose. Homer is an anti-abortionist mentor, DRP. Larch, with performing illegal abortions. Throughout the entirety of the movie, he is challenged by witnessing women wanting to terminate their pregnancies.
The question that remains is whether Homer’s values will stay true based on his views, or differ with each situation. The first scenario of abortion was presented in the beginning of the movie. Homer found a twelve year old young girl exhibiting dangerous symptoms. She was quickly rushed to surgery, where DRP. Larch voiced to Homer, “If she’d come to you four months ago and asked you for a simple D and C, what would you have decided to do? Nothing? This is what doing nothing gets you, Homer.
It means that someone else is going to do the Job-?some moron who doesn’t know how! ” (Hailstorm, 1999). The girl eventually died due to a botched abortion that left her uterus pierced by a knitting needle. One would first have to question if she was able to consent to sexual intercourse. In Kantian grounds, “any form of coercion would be morally object-able on Kantian grounds. This is one of the strongest reasons for prohibiting sex with children- namely, that they are not independent enough to resist pressure or coercion” (Ethics, 214).
As a result, any pregnancy resulting with a child “consenting” to sexual intercourse could morally be aborted. Furthermore, if she is not mature enough to consent to sexual intercourse, then presumably, she should not be morally liable to birth or care for any offspring that happens as a result of this. From a Utilitarian point of view, one would have to consider the consequences of having a baby at such a young age. If the consequences of a young mother keeping her child overshadows the things that would make her happy in life, it would morally be tolerable for an abortion to transpire.
Other consequences that would have to be evaluated are how one so young would be able to provide for an infant, along with the happiness of the young mother and child in effect. According to Pregnancy-Info. Net, “A child born to a teenage mother is also seen to be at a disadvantage in society. ” Facts they base this statement on include “Newborns of teen mothers tend to have a lower birth weight. As they get older, they are more likely to do poorly in school and have a greater chance of experiencing abuse and neglect.
It has been found that sons of teenage mothers are more likely to wind up in prison. Daughters of teen mothers have an increased risk of experiencing a teenage pregnancy themselves. ” With Utilitarian reasoning, ethically it would be permissible for this child to abort a pregnancy that would threaten the happiness of both mother and child. If abortions had not been illegal during the time that this movie takes place, and the girl was able to obtain an abortion in a sanitary and safe environment with a professional, then the girl would have survived.
The second scenario, in which Young Homer’s anti-abortionist morals are tested, is with his soon-to-be secret lover Candy Kendall. She and her boyfriend Let. Wally Worthington reach out to DRP. Larch for an abortion. There was never an explanation cited for the requirement of the abortion, leaving the audience to presume that they were not prepared to rear a child. DRP. Larch has always made it clear that, “If you expect people to be responsible for their children, you have to give them the right to decide whether or not to have children” (Hailstorm, 1999).
However, Homer has always stood to his grounds that a child deserves to be alive under any circumstance. His naturalistic beliefs were that it is wrong to end a life Church are based on natural law. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican friar who also seed natural law to argue ethically. In “On Natural LaW’ Aquinas states, “In the first place, there is the inclination shared by all substances in as much as they naturally desire self-preservation” (Ethics, 105). Quinoa’s argument further supports that abortion goes against the preservation of the human species, and it denies the fetus to live to its full potential.
From this point of view, Candy is immoral for aborting because she is denying the fetus the right to its potential life. If we are depending on the status of the fetus, then some would argue that there should be criteria to what we consider to be a person. Others reject this position by drawing a distinction between human being and human person, arguing that while the fetus is innocent and biologically human, it is not a person with a right to life. In support of this distinction, some propose a list of criteria as markers of Persephone.
For example, Mary Ann Warren suggests consciousness (at least the capacity to feel pain), reasoning, self motivation, the ability to communicate, and self- awareness” (Wisped). With this argument, Candy was morally correct to abort an unwanted child because people like Mary Ann Warren believe that a fetus does not exhibit all the criteria of Persephone, thus does not have the right to life. Candy utilized her options by choosing to abort the fetus because her bodily rights exceed that of the fetus. The law at the time would have prevented Candy from attaining an abortion, so she did so illegally because she felt it is what is best for her.
People should have the option to decide whether or not they are ready to be a parent for themselves. Our final scenario presented in “Cider House Rules” is that of Rose. She is one of the migrant apple pickers who befriend Homer. Her father, Mr.. Rose, was the leader of their team. After their return from the prior season, it became evident that Rose was pregnant. What truly tested Homer’s anti-abortionist ethics is when he became aware of who Rose was impregnated by… Her father, Mr.. Rose. In this case, all of Homer’s arguments of sexual restraint and pro life could not apply to her injustice.
It seems that this was the only case that shook Homer into believing in a woman’s right to choose. Some feel that it is an injustice for a women to carry a pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault. It is also said that a pregnancy caused by rape or incest is the result of a grave injustice. This would remind the woman for nine months of the violence committed against her and would increase her mental anguish. The victim should not be obliged to carry the fetus to viability because “The fetus is an aggressor against the woman’s integrity and personal life” (Backbite).
Rose had a major injustice inflicted on her and morally should not have to bear a child that was forced. Finally, we must consider the views of Judith Jarvis Thomson. She creates an imaginary scenario in which a famous violinist has kidnapped you in the middle of the night, and is hooked up to your kidneys to purify his blood. She then compares the violinist to a fetus, who is a living viable person, and asks if you should morally have to save his life. Comparable to a fetus, the violinist has not asked permission and has connected his existence to your body.
Thomson argues that even though it would be charitable of you to save the life of the violinist, or fetus, you are not obligated to do so. “Such views are consistent with a position that stressed that women are persons and have the right to bodily integrity as do other people, and others, even the noble purposes such as the nurturing of children” (Ethics, 180). Applying Rose’s pregnancy due to incest, and the examples by Thomson, Rose has the right to abort because the acts were committed against her will and the fetus will grow in her without permission.
It is with this reasoning that Homer aborted Rose’s pregnancy. Since society had deemed abortions illegal during this time, she would have had to birth a child that was born through incest. It would not be society, but Rose who would have to live with the ultimate reminder of her father’s injustice. That is why Rose, rather than society, should have the right to choose what actions to take. The Journey of the character Homer Wells witnesses three scenarios in which women have aborted their fetus.
He began with his findings of an anonymous young girl who died from her botched abortion, during which his anti-abortionist ethics were unchanging. He then met Candy, who received an abortion by his mentor, DRP. Larch. His argument on controlling your sexual urges was contradicted with his affair with Candy. Homer finally went against his pro- life ethics by personally aborting Rose’s fetus that was conceived through an incestuous relationship with her father. By the ND of the film, Homer’s ideals were not crushed, but were altered by the realism of the world.
Realistically we must recognize that “Cider House Rules” is Just a fictional story that depicts real situations that do occur. Every year, millions of women have an abortion and every abortion is backed by different reasons. In the end, it is not up to society to Judge a woman for terminating her pregnancy. Debates and reasoning for or against abortion will always exist. However, history shows that even when illegal, abortions were executed and sought after. In the long run, either legally or illegally, omen will implement the use of abortions whether society hold them as legal or illegal.