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The controversy within the biomedical ethics topic, abortion, has two main proponents. The first, is the view against abortion, also known as pro-life. The other view, is rooted upon the belief of being pro-choice, or basically for abortions. These two different views are like two mathematical principles, in that although these two views have many differences, they also have larger similarities in the background. For example, when pro-choice activists support abortions due to unwanted pregnancies, the activists are not rallying behind the idea of sexual incompetency (pregnancies due to lack of birth control). Rather, they are supporting the idea that women have the right to choose what to do with their own bodies.
In order to understand these opposing views, justifications and condemnations, on abortion, it can basically be divided into three categories. These categories are based upon the reasons for which abortions are carried out, and include congenital defects, rape, and economics. Congenital defects, is when deformities within the baby are detected during an early stage of a pregnancy (Nelson 36-37). These defects, such as Down’s syndrome, are detected through an amniocentesis test. The second justification for abortion is from criminal cases, such as rape (Nelson 38). A final reason for an abortion, is due to economics, the financial condition, of a family (Nelson 32). Economics can also include cases such as teen pregnancies.
The anti-abortionists have numerous reasons for their beliefs, and many of them are attached to their religion ideals. Religious ideals, range from having an abortion before 120 days after the pregnancy, as in Islam, to considering it a sin to have an abortion, as in Christianity (Siegel et al. 3-4). However, the anti-abortionists’ reasons also come from the belief that a human being is born after conception, and that the death of that embryo or fetus resembles the murder of an innocent human being (Roleff 17). They believe that no one has the power to take command of another’s life, mainly an infant, that is dependent on others for survival during the initial stages of life. In addition, to the fact that abortions kill innocent human beings, anti-abortionists believe that they also damage the mental, as well as physical condition of the mother. Since, after an abortion a mother is more susceptible to breast cancer, and to periods of depression (Roleff 141-165). In the case of congenital defects, the pro-life activists argue that such indications of a disease, do not guarantee that the child will be born into a life of suffering (Roleff 123). They believe that through love, and guidance anyone with any form of deformity or disease, can lead a normal life (Roleff 123). The cases pertaining to rape, also have different anti-abortionists views (Roleff 130). Many anti-abortionists believe that the child can actually help the mother get through the turbulent times in her life, by providing each other with a loving environment(Roleff 130). Finally, in the case of economics, the pro-life activists believe that having an abortion due to financial reasons, is ridiculous. Because, it doesn’t mean that the child will have a life full of isolation and depression (Nelson 32-33). The pro-life activists argue that there are also numerous welfare programs for such families.
However, the pro-choice or the activists for abortions, argue that if a family is in a state of financial trouble, then abortion should be a viable option (Nelson 32-33). Otherwise, the child would be born into a life of suffering, and inadequate living conditions. The pro-choice believers, bases their beliefs, upon the fact that having an abortion is the inalienable right of women (nelson 8). They believe that by outlawing abortions, women aren’t allowed to practice their freedom of privacy. In a way, women are being denied their constitutional rights. Many pro-choice activists also state that abortion is justifiable, because at the time of fertilization the ensuing embryo is not yet a human being (Roleff 40). It is not a human being, but a potential one. Therefore, its death does not constitute a murder. Pro-choice activists’ beliefs, that the economics of a family necessitates an abortion, are similar to their beliefs on congenital defects as reason for an abortion. That is, a child born with a condition like Down’s syndrome, will tend to live a life full of suffering, and in other cases might die after birth (Roleff 123; Nelson 36-37). This death can have detrimental effects on the parents, by leaving emotional scars. In the case of rape, pro-life activists deem that since a woman was impregnated without her consent, that child can be exterminated. The pro-choice activists justify this action, in that if the child was born, it would be a recurring image of the pain the mother had suffered (Roleff 134).
The differences between the two opposing sides on abortion are obvious, since one’s interpretation of the cause for an abortion is the exact opposite of the other. The anti-abortionists view abortion as a defilement of God, since God created everyone in his ideal image. On the other hand the pro-choice activists believe that the right to have an abortion, rests within a woman’s right to choose (McKinley). Also, on the three main causes for either justifying or condemning an abortion, both sides have the opposite views of each other. In the case pertaining to economics as justification for an abortion, the anti-abortionists believe that one should have the child because it does not declare that the child will be brought up in poverty (Nelson 32-33). However, the pro-choice activists believe the exact opposite in that a child born into an economically poor family, will grow up in poverty. The differences between the anti-abortionists and the pro-choice activists can also be seen in their views toward rape and congenital defects. While the pro-choice activist believes that a child born within these cases will most likely live a life of suffering and isolation, the anti-abortionists believe that a child of such nature can live a normal life provided a loving family and support (Roleff 102-139).
In this century-old debate the differences between the two opposing views are easily seen than the similarities between them. However, there are numerous comparable beliefs from both sides of the debate. The fact, that pro-choice activists believe a woman has a natural right to make her own choices, and in this case, abortion, does not mean that she won’t make the wrong choice. A choice, that she may regret later on her life. The pro-choice activists, by being supportive of abortions does not support it as a form of birth control, or the fact that being sexually incompetent is a good notion. Many pro-life activists also tend to believe that if a child is to be born into a life that will eventually end after birth, then that child should not live. The fact that pro-choice activists favor abortion does not mean that her or she favors abortion as a good deed. There is also a similar belief that pro-life activist won’t condemn abortions in which the life of the mother is at risk, due to her pregnancy. For example, in Islam, an abortion is permitted after 120 days in a pregnancy, if the life of the mother is at risk (Siegel et al. 4).
The debate about abortion, is rooted within numerous issues between the anti-abortionists and the pro-choice activists. While, the pro-life activists base most of their support against abortions upon a religious basis, the pro-choice activists are more geared toward the individual rights attributed to women. Although, both sides have similarities, in broader aspects, of the mother and the choices she makes. These broader aspects, include ideals such as, when a pro-choice activist supports abortions. His or her support is not stating that abortion is a good idea, but that if it was outlawed it would limits the rights of women. Although, pro-choice activists have numerous beliefs for supporting abortions, they fail to comprehend the economical analysis of abortions. In the eyes of Economics, abortion can also have a negative effect, or an opportunity cost. For example, is the mother of Einstein or Darwin had an abortion, then the opportunity cost would be the loss of knowledge they discovered. Likewise, the opportunity cost of an unborn child due to abortion, whom could have had a significant effect on human race, can be devastating.
During the past quarter century, abortion has joined race and war as one of the most debatable subject of controversy in the United States. It discusses human interaction where ethics, emotions and law come together. Abortion poses a moral, social and medical dilemma that faces many individuals to create a emotional and violent atmosphere. There are many points of view toward abortion but the only two fine distinctions are “pro-choice” and “pro-life”. A pro-choicer would feel that the decision to abort a pregnancy is that of the mothers and the state has no right to interfere. A pro-lifer would hold that from the moment of conception, the embryo or fetus is alive. This life imposes on us a moral obligation to preserve it and that abortion is tantamount to murder (Kolner 5).
Abortion is a women’s own right and choice. In 1973 the Roe v. Wade decision proved this by recognizing abortion as a fundamental constitution right and made it legal in all states. The law now permits abortion at the request of the women without any restrictions in the first trimester and some restrictions in the second trimester to protect the women’s health. The National Abortion Right Act League argues that without legal abortion women would be denied their constitutional right of privacy and liberty. The women’s right to her own body subordinates those of the fetus and the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade argued that the women’s “right to privacy” overruled the fetus’s right to life. If abortion was illegal it would force poor women to bear and raise children they can’t afford to bring up. There would be a number of unsafe abortions in back allies. It would also force women to give up their dreams and stay home to bring up babies. Worst of all, it would condemn victims o apeand incest to carry and nurture the offspring of their rapist.(Kolner 5) Abortion is necessary for women to have control over their own bodies and life. One activist said, “If I hadn’t had that abortion my life would have been a disaster. I wouldn’t have made it to medical school. I was married at that point to a very ill man and it would have been terrible to have to have my baby. People who need abortions are in some kind of turmoil and it’s really a life-saving thing.”(Blender 4) To ignore the rights of others is selfish and injustice. Women must have the right to control the functions of their own bodies. Revern George Gardiner pastor of the college Hill United Methodist Church, told the council that the ordnance would have done little good. “Young women need the freedom to make choices for their reproductive life when their family can’t guarantee them parental support.”(Lynn B6-7) Women should not be forced to have babies they don’t want. They must be able to decide what happe ns to them and have a safe plus legal way of doing so. Women are in control of their own bodies and lives. Legislators have no right to interfere. The practical assertion that since pregnancy involves a women’s body, the choice of continuing that pregnancy must be hers alone. This was the first given buerful theoretical articulation and defense by Judith Thomson.(meilander 3)
However, abortion is considered murder by half of all Americans. Pro-lifers believe that human life begins at the moment of conception. When the merge of the egg and sperm is complete, they are fertilized and known as the “zygote”. The zygote contains a full set of 46 chromosomes which is required to create a human life. Scientists identify that at the moment of fertilization the ovum takes on a entirely different destiny, life. About 15,000 genes from the sperm and ovum form a unique combination. This is nothing less than a new human life at its earlier stage of life. In the United States many infants will not make it to puberty, old age or even their second birthday. Just because of their shortened life, it doesn’t mean that it never existed. Dr. Nathanson stopped preforming abortions after becoming aware of the horrors he observed. “A woman has the right to go to bed with who she wants, but she can not choose death for her child. It’s a direct violation of human rights.” (Koval i grid c-7) Anthony Simpson has a photo of a aborted fetus and believes that abortion is nothing less but ruthless murder. In southern Kentucky, Robert Hollis brutally assaulted his wife in effort to abort the fetus he suspected wasn’t his. He successfully did so and Caroll believed Hollis set out intentionally to kill that fetus and that is in fact murder. Kristina Kleg a graduate from high school has recently become pregnant and decided against abortion. She feels that it’s an innocent child inside of her. It has a brain and a heart therefore it also has a right to life. “Abortion is the unnatural end of pregnancy. That child has a right to life that is equal to the mothers right. One cannot kill another human being just because they wished it wasn’t around. Abortion is murder of the innocent practiced on a national scale.” (Abortion: The Personal, Medical and Social Dilemma) Overall it has been proven that the fetus is a real person. It responds to noise, has feeling and fears. To h ave an abortion it will destroy an innocent life which is directly connected to murder.