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Abortion has attracted a lot of controversy within the political, cultural and religious scenes and a permanent resolution seems not to be in sight. Sharp differences in opinion arise based on the ethical and legal status of abortion. Behind the dispute, there are elemental questions which are not always attended to as required. As a matter of fact, the morality of abortion is an intricate topic with rational points of view available to both sides (MacGuigan, 1994, p 36). By addressing the moral aspect of abortion, its merits and demerits will be evidently seen. This paper will discuss the morals surrounding abortion so as to come to a consensus and establish the best and most acceptable way concerning the issue.
Abortion is an intricate issue and even when carried out, it is done with a lot of caution. It touches on various vital and basic ethical subjects. For instance, it is concerned with people’s rights, the nature of personhood, relationships and individual autonomy, government authority over personal decisions among others. The controversy starts with the ethical status of fetus. The reason is because, if the fetus has no rights, then this issue is no more (Garlikov, 2011, para. 13). However, if the fetus really has rights, then abortion does not only send alarm on the liberty of women, but also of the vulnerable unborn beings. The most held believes concerning the ethical status of fetus to avoid abortion include the following. The fetus is part of human species proven biologically (Sharvy, 2006, para. 2). Also, intentional annihilation and termination of human life is murder. Consequently, abortion whose end result is murder is unethical since it involves intentional termination of someone’s life.
On the other hand, it is important to focus on the reasons that justify abortion. The abortion debate has taken the center stage in the political and social arenas since twentieth century to date. According to the liberalists, abortion is morally acceptable since women have the right to make their own decisions for their bodies. According to this argument, it would be wrong to force a woman carry pregnancy against her will (Beger, 2004, p 88). It is a threat to her health and a possible neglect to the child thereafter. The mother might not be in a position to cater for the basic needs of the child and therefore, abortion becomes a better alternative.
Liberal movements which gained a lot of popularity in the sixties transformed the way people used to think concerning the respect and quality of human emotions. It was an unapologetic move by women to have their voices heard and respected by the society as far as making decisions is concerned. These movements resulted to adjustments in the way people viewed intricate issues surrounding human reproductive health and sexuality (Beger, 2004, p 88). Eventually, the entire world has embraced these concepts aimed at emancipating the full potential of women. Such a stand esteems the rights of women at the expense of the fetus’ life. The woman is at risk of death or being disfigured after being forced to carry pregnancy that she is unwilling to nurse.
Coercion of women to have children they do not want is infringement of their rights. Traditionally, women’s voice was never heard in the society since they were taken as inferior beings. Also the bible teaches that women should be submissive to their husbands (Beger, 2004, p 92). These practices are retrogressive and their propulsion is detrimental to the wellbeing of women in the modern society.
Contrary, the most prevalent validation of abortion is self-defense. Amazingly, self-defense is taken to be superior in principle to abortion. Nevertheless, it should not validate abortion in whatever way. Even in a court of law, allegations of self-defense are never used as a defense to criminal accusations. The parent is to blame for bringing about pregnancy; therefore, self-defense can never defend terminating pregnancy in a manner that will lead to murder (Sharvy, 2006, para. 5). Occasionally, pregnant women justify themselves to have a right to abort since they did not intend to get the pregnancy in the first place. Although there are reasonable grounds such as pregnancies that result from rape cases, the responsibility for someone’s actions is never limited to specific results. People should be accountable for their actions.
Pregnancy occurs as a result of sexual activity. Therefore, the moral question about abortion should first include the morality of sex itself. It would be wrong and unacceptable to avoid these consequences of sex. Pregnancy got from consensual sex can be compared to a lost gamble and therefore, the parent(s) should be held responsible for their actions (Elroy, 2008, para. 6). A pregnant woman should know that there is an ethical duty to carry out in taking care of t he pregnancy and raising the child thereafter. If it is acceptable that fetus has rights, the principle of self-defense is ruled out and the rights of the parent should defer to those of the unborn.
The case of abortion can not be justified like that of war. This is because, murder in a war setting is normally defended on practical grounds. Practically, deaths can not be avoided in a war. Actually, a war is justified if its merits outweigh its demerits. A utilitarian approach is concerned with comparison of the variables that are presented on the table. In such an approach, variables are compared so as to find which demands the highest preference (Sharvy, 2006, para. 6). After comparing the variables, they either become subjective or overbearing to others depending on their relative value. However, utilitarianism approach can not be applied in determining the morality of abortion. This is due to the fact that it requires human life be esteemed less than the individual convenience.
Pro-life groups are opposed to abortion. They hold to the belief that a woman or parent who practices abortion is a murderer. Most of the abortions are carried out in the first month of pregnancy after a woman realizes she is pregnant (MacGuigan, 1994, p 37). It can be suggested that, if termination of a zygote life is equal to the loss of a person’s life, then abortion is the most gigantic natural disaster, surpassing all the other causes of natural disasters. For instance, in 2008 alone, there were over 1.2 million reported cases of abortion in the United States of America (United States Census Bereau, 2011). Even after carrying out abortion, the fetus does not receive the due respect like other human beings. Instead of being accorded a decent burial, the fetus is disposed off just like any other garbage.
Pro-life activists argue that even contraception is not different from abortion. They claim that separation of male gametes from fertilizing a female egg is a threat to procreation. However, even with disregard to use of contraceptives, abortion is unacceptable in the social, political and religious dimensions.
The paper has addressed both the merits and demerits of abortion. Nevertheless, it would be ridiculous and a selfish move to justify termination of another human being’s life so that people can have stress free lives. Therefore, it is morally unacceptable to carry out abortion. There should be ultimate respect for human life without compromise in whatsoever way.
Beger, Nicole J. Tensions in the struggle for sexual minority rights in Europe: que(e)rying political practices. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. Print.
Elroy. "Why Abortion is Moral." 2008. Web. 6 December 2011. <http://www.elroy.net/ehr/abortionanswers.html>.
Garlikov, Richard. "The Abortion Debate ." 18 May 2011. Web. 6 December 2011 <http://www.garlikov.com/abortion.html>.
MacGuigan, Mark. Abortion, conscience, and democracy. Toronto: Dundurn Press Ltd, 1994. Print.
Sharvy, Ben. "The Morality of Abortion: A Critique." 28 June 2006. Web. 6 December 2011 <http://members.efn.org/~bsharvy/abortion.html>.
United States Census Bereau . "Table 103: Abortions- Number and Rate by State of Occurrence from 2000 to 2008." 20 September 2011. Web. 6 December 2011 <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0103.pdf>.