“abortion pill” case study

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1.  R Review the facts of the case.
• What are the details?
• What is the background or history?

2.  E Estimate (specify) the conflict or problem present in the case.
• What is at issue or at stake?

3.  S List main possible solutions to the case.

4.  O State important and probable outcomes or consequences of each solution.
• What will happen?
• What is likely to happen?
• What might happen?

5.  L Describe the likely impact of each main solution on people’s lives, and on the interests and concerns of entities (i.e., institutions, organizations, companies, governments and states), as well as nonhumans and the environment.
• Who will be benefited?
• Who will be harmed?
• Who else will be impacted and how?

6.  V Explain the values upheld and those infringed by each main solution.
• Refer to relevant moral principles, e.g., honesty, harm, fidelity, autonomy, confidentiality, lawfulness, equal consideration of interests;
• Characterize salient moral rights, e.g., knowledge, privacy, life, free expression, due process, safety, property;
• If relevant, include consideration of the interests and rights of future generations.

7.  E Evaluate each main solution in terms of outcomes, likely impact and values upheld or infringed.

8.  D Decide which solution is best, state it, clarify its details, and justify it.

9.  D Defend the decision against objections to its main weaknesses.

Use this method to analyze and reach a decision about the best course of action in one of the following cases:

Actions case, (1) The “Abortion Pill”

Make sure you consider the case you choose in light of some of the moral theories and principles we have discussed in the class.

How much you write about each step in the method is up to you, but you should write a minimum of 500 words in total. Type up your analysis, with each step clearly numbered, and submit it via Canvas by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, September 21.

RESOLVEDD Strategy for Making Ethical Decisions

Chimpanzee Rights

In the early 2010s, Stephen Wise, an attorney from The Nonhuman Rights Project filed several

writs of habeas corpus in New York on behalf of captive chimpanzees. Normally these are filed

on behalf of persons who are held in jail without trial or otherwise unlawfully. But Wise held

that chimps share with humans sufficiently complex psychological capacities, so that they have

similar fundamental rights. Therefore, he argued, chimps and other psychologically sophisticated

mammals should be considered persons in the law, as corporations are. With one exception in

2015 involving a lab chimp held at the State University of New York, judges quickly dismissed

Wise’s actions. According to a common reply by attorneys for those wishing to keep the animals,

because chimps have no legal duties, they have no legal rights. Wise was not seeking complete

freedom for these nonhumans but only their removal from cages and release in one of the eight

primate sanctuaries in North America. To support his actions, he presented evidence about

primate psychology from scientists who study them. Questions to consider here include: a) What

might that evidence have consisted of? b) Is the common reply by the defense convincing? c)

What other objections might Mr. Wise have encountered and how might he respond? d) What

would be the consequences of his views for zoos or animal farming?


1. This is a case about attorney Stephen Wise filing a case to protect chimps. He states that

chimps are psychologically sophisticated and therefore have the right to be treated as

such. He was not seeking complete freedom for them, the for the removal of cages and to

be released to animal sanctuaries.

2. The issue is whether chimps should be held at that respect level. Should be not be

allowed to be in cages? Should they be treated as the intelligent creatures they are and get

the housing freedom they deserve? They should not be treated like lab rats. They are

nonhuman animals but still do not deserve to be stuck in cages with all rights revoked.

3. Possible outcomes are letting the chimps free into the wild. They could put tracking

devices on them for further studies. They could keep them in animal sanctuaries where

they will still be captive but have more freedom. The worst solution is leaving them in

cages where they may get frustrated and turn aggressive from the lack of available

resources. This could affect the studies as well if they are not cooperative from being kept

in inhumane conditions.

4. Possible outcomes are stated in the previous answer. The main idea is the chimp still has

rights. It is not a lab rat. Chimps are highly intelligent animals. They may not have legal

rights, but they deserve more than just a small cage. Lab rats are not on the same level as

chimps. The cages they are in are suitable for the type of animal they are. Chimps need

more of a natural environment with space in order to be happy. Depending on the studies

that are being conducted, keeping them in cages may not be the best for the results.

5. If they are kept in cages, the chimp will be in distress. It may turn aggressive and it

deserves more than that. There are minimal benefits keeping it in a cage, the only one is

for the convenience of the people studying them. If the chimp is in a sanctuary or

released into the wild, the benefits will rise dramatically. The chimp will be happier and

in its own environment. The studies will be more accurate because the chimp will not be

in as much distress. There may be a little more work for the people studying them, but

that is the price to pay when you want to study a WILD animal. Keeping the chimp in a

cage may also cause more lawsuits from animal rights activists.

6. A chimp is a nonhuman animal but very intelligent, sophisticated, and psychologically

inclined. Therefore, it deserves basic rights. It is morally impermissible to keep them in

small cages with minimal resources. The chimps deserve moral rights, privacy, and

safety. If they are kept in a sanctuary or released into the wild, the possibility of them

breeding is higher, and there needs to be more chimps in the world. Especially more in

the wild that are left alone and not used for studying purposes for an outcome that has

nothing to do with the quality of their life.

7. Same answer as #5. The chimp’s life is valuable and deserves moral rights. Humans are


8. The best decision is to let the chimp out in the wild. The chimp will be in its natural

habitat and will have a better quality of life. People can but tracking devices on them if

need be, but in no circumstance is it okay to keep a chimp in a small cage. The details are

listed in the questions above.

9. This would be easier answered with more information about the case. What research is

being done? What evidence did Wise have? How big are the cages? How big are the

sanctuaries? With limited information, the decision to keep the chimp in a cage is still

highly morally impermissible. They are intelligent creatures. They may be aggressive if

they are not housed properly. The simple fact that it is a chimpanzee should be reason

enough to not allow humans to keep it in a small cage. If someone has any TINY bit of

respect for anything, they would not keep a chimp in a small cage for testing and

research. Research the chimp in its natural habitat, the results would be more accurate

because the chimp would not be as stressed out.

  • RESOLVEDD Strategy for Making Ethical Decisions
  • Chimpanzee Rights

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