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Legalizing Abortion and Back-alley Abortionists

Legalizing Abortion and Back-alley Abortionists

The head of one of the major pro-choice/pro-abortion organizations in the U.S. has said: “In 1972 there were 1,000,000 illegal abortions and 5,000 to 10,000 women died from them.” The data would indicate that legalized abortion is a godsend for women. This essay will examine the truth or falsity of the above quote in all of its complexity.

True? Or False? No one knows. For the obvious reason that illegal abortions have never been reported. There are no statistics, no numbers anywhere to report. Therefore, if anyone tells you that there were X numbers of illegal abortions somewhere in a certain time, they are guessing. The pro-abortion leader may guess 1,000,000. The pro-life spokesman may guess 100,000, but both are guessing.

There is only one reported figure that can lead us to some degree of accurate estimate of the numbers of illegal abortions and that is the number of women who died from illegal abortions. Many nations report only one figure for women who die, lumping together women’s deaths from spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), legally induced abortion and illegally induced abortion. Such statistics are no help. The United States, since the 1940s, has reported such deaths separately, so we know the number of deaths from illegal abortions. Good! Now if we knew how many illegal abortions it took to cause one death, we could easily calculate the total number of illegal abortions. The problem is, no one has the slightest idea how many it took, and so we’re back to where we started from.

How many women died? The chart used on the floor of the US Senate during the tumultuous debate on abortion in 1981 was compiled from official U.S. statistics and was not challenged by the pro-abortion forces. It shows that after Penicillin became available to control infections, the number of deaths stabilized during the 1950s at about 250/year. e.g. 1956 = 250. Note that by 1966, with abortion still illegal in all states, the number of deaths had dropped steadily to half that number – 120, because of new and better antibiotics, better surgery and the establishment of intensive care units in hospitals. This was in the face of a rising population. Between 1967 and 1970 sixteen states legalized abortion. In most it was limited, only for rape, incest and severe fetal handicap (life of mother was legal in all states).

Technology – The Conflicts of a Universal Computer Code of Ethics Exploratory Essays Research Papers

On the Conflicts of a Universal Computer Code of Ethics Abstract: The difficulty of having one global ethical Standard of Conduct for computer professionals is due to the fact that there are conflicting legitimate loyalties and interests. This paper examines an ethical issue in the professional computer world through use of a case study. The example given is that of a programmer who is asked to install new software on his computer. He notices that the software may have been illegally obtained, and investigates. After no one can prove to him that the software has a legitimate or illegitimate origin, he is faced with the dilemma of overlooking the problem or blowing the whistle and bringing it into the public sphere. The Code of Ethics of a typical computer company is examined for clues as to what ethical action the worker should take next. Ethical dilemmas can be difficult to resolve due to the nature of personal loyalties. We are all taught to abide by the law, listen to our parents, and be obedient to our employers. What if, however, one these loyalties come into conflict with each other? Our allegiance may suddenly fall into question. We may be forced to chose what is most important to us, making decisions that might change our relationship with our loyalties. The following case is an example of such an ethical dilemma, where an employee must first determine if in fact there is a conflict, and secondly what action to take if in fact the conflict exists. We use this case to analyze the inherent conflicts in having one Universal Code of Ethics for computer professionals. In this analysis, we focus on the ethical conflicts and do not consider problems arising due to technical specialties or changes. Consider following fictional situation: Rawley works for a small internet consulting company which designs and implements web portals. He is an expert at implementing the back end of sites. One day, however, Rawley’s manager asks him work on the design of the web site. His manager says that the project is behind schedule and needs more workers. He also promises that this will not become a long term project: it will last no more than a month. Since Rawley has done this kind of work for past employers, he does not think it will be hard to do here. He agrees to take on the job. To begin his new assignment, Rawley must install new software on his computer. He goes to the technical support team, and receives the software upon request. It is not, however, what he expected. Instead of an original disk, he receives a CD-R disk with the name of the program and the CD-key hand-written on top. Immediately Rawley is suspicious, and asks his coworkers who have installed this program before if they too used this copied disk. They had. Should Rawley at this point worry that the program has been illegally obtained? Or should he leave the responsibility of copyright infringement to the technical department? Not sure how to proceed, Rawley walks back to the technical support staff and asks about the disk. He is told that the copy is of an original that they have stored away. Fair enough, Rawley thinks, and asks for the original disk and documentation. The technical staff worker looks for the package, and comes back empty handed. Rawley is told that it must have gotten misplaced during the company’s move to a new office six months before. Going back to his desk, Rawley thinks about the situation. Why was the original misplaced but the copy still around? Should he report this to his manager? Or because he does not have definite reason to suspect illegal activity, he ought to disregard his worries and install the software? Reasoning that it would not be harmful, Rawley goes to tell his manager of the situation. His manager, unfazed by the situation, quickly tells Rawley not to worry about it. He assures him that the original disk will eventually turn up, and that he should not waste any more time worrying about the situation. Thus the ethical dilemma is set: On one side, Rawley’s company is unable to prove to him that the software is legal. To him, it seems that either no one really cares about copyright laws, or is trying to hide their involvement in stealing the software. And even if the disk was a copy of an original, does the company own enough licenses of the software to allow another user, Rawley, to use the program simultaneously with his coworkers? On the other hand, however, is Rawley only overreacting and unnecessarily worrying? It may very well be true that the disk is in fact a copy of an original, and that the company misplaced the original box during its move. And surely the company has enough licenses for its workers. And even if not, he is only on the project temporarily, and will no longer need the software after a month. Should the company really need to pay for another license of the software for such a short term project? There are probably workers who have the software but do not use it. Thus Rawley could temporarily use their license. And, at the same time, it is not his job to deal with issues of software piracy. He is not the technical staff that deal with such things, and he would not be punished if in fact a copyright infringement was proven. In order to evaluate Rawley’s arguments in ethical terms, let us consider the Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct as published by the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP).1 The AITP breaks the Code of Ethics down to four employee obligations: to management, to fellow members and the profession, to society, and to the employer. The following are selective excerpts from the Standard of Conduct of AITP that pertain to Rawley’s ethical issue. As an obligation to management, Rawley is to “share his knowledge with others and present factual and objective information to management to the best of [his] ability.” This obligation was fully followed. Rawley discussed the matter with his manager, telling him all the details that he was aware of in the situation. Here, he undoubtedly did the ethically correct thing. As an obligation to his employer, Rawley is to “avoid conflict of interest and insure that [his] employer is aware of any potential conflicts.” Rawley did make his employer aware of a potential problem. It is safe to say that Rawley “[presented] a fair, honest, and objective viewpoint” to his manager while showing his concern for the legitimacy of the software. There are a several responsibilities that Rawley has to his fellow members and the profession as a computer professional. The first is to “be honest in all [] professional relationships.” Rawley met this responsibility, since he did not hide from anyone that he was suspicious about the disk being illegally obtained. He also attempted to “cooperate with others in achieving understanding and in identifying problems.” However, the people he spoke to, the technical staff and his manager, did not seem to take the issue seriously enough to take any action once the problem was identified. Rawley also had an obligation to “take appropriate action in regard to any illegal or unethical practices that [came] to [his] attention.” Is there enough evidence to take action against the company? This is the dilemma that Rawley is trying to resolve. His obligation to society is to “support, respect, and abide by the appropriate local, state, provincial, and federal laws.” If the software was obtained illegally, installing it would be breaking these laws. Secondly, Rawley is to “never misrepresent or withhold information that is germane to a problem or situation of public concern.” It is obvious that if in fact laws were broken obtaining the software, this point shows that not bringing this situation to public light would be unethical. If it were not true, however, misrepresenting the company may prove unwelcome. We can see how Rawley must chose between his loyalty to society, and loyalty to his company. It is yet unclear whether the company did in fact infringe on copyright laws. It is obvious why Rawley is concerned. His decision may very well affect his future at his company. If he chooses to keep the discovery a secret, he would be acting unethically. If he brings the issue to light, though, he may either be falsely accusing his company, or bringing a lawsuit upon it. In both cases, Rawley may be compromising the position with his employer. Thus it is easy to share in Rawley’s dilemma of conflicting loyalties. 1 Bowyer, Kevin W. “Ethics and Computing: Living Responsibly in a Computerized World.” Second Edition. IEEE Press: New York, 2001; pages 47-50.

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