Last Updated 25 May 2020

Abortion – “the Wrong of Abortion”

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Abortion is one of the most controversial topics of all times. The definition most people associate with abortion is the termination of unwanted pregnancy. In their essay, “The Wrong of Abortion”, Patrick Lee and Robert P. George argue that intentional abortion is unjust and therefore objectively immoral no matter the circumstances.

Also, they argue that “the burden of carrying the baby is significantly less than the harm the baby would suffer by being killed; the mother and father have a special responsibility to the child; it follows that intentional abortion (even in few cases where the baby’s death is an unintended but foreseen side effect) is unjust ” (24). I am personally in between pro-life and pro-choice. On the one hand, I agree with their argument in that the mother and the father are responsible for their baby and that abortion should not be a choice.

However, I disagree with the part where they say that abortion is unjust even if the baby (fetus) may have a defect. Yet, I believe that the choice of abortion is immoral if women use it as their last resort- contraceptive purposes, but I think that abortion should be allowed if the baby (fetus), which is still in the womb, is predicted to have a side effect such as deformation or diseases like Down’s syndrome. For example, if I were to bear a child and I find out later on that my baby has Down’s syndrome; then, in this case, I will choose to get aborted, not for selfish reasons, but because this defect may hurt my baby in the long run.

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Besides, my baby is the one that has to live with it for the rest of his/her life and it will definitely have a big effect on them in the future. In short, I am pro-life in most cases, especially if women do not take responsibility for their actions, but I am pro-choice if and only if there are side effects with the baby or the mother that might endanger their lives and of course, abortion is permissible in case of incest and rape. Lee and George claim that human embryos (fetuses) are complete human beings that have not fully developed to its mature stage; therefore, a human being is what is killed in abortion.

I agree completely that the fetus, or the human embryo, is in fact a living being. Moreover, human embryo is the “same” as human beings except, the difference between these two is that the embryo is not a full human person because the fetus is not fully developed yet. Every new life, whether it be animal or human, begins at conception. With this being said, no matter what the circumstances of conception, no matter how far along in the pregnancy, abortion, in my opinion, always ends the life of an individual human being.

Abortion destroys the lives of helpless and innocent babies that have not done anything wrong. Everyone is raised knowing the difference between right and wrong. Murder is wrong, so why is not abortion? Defenders of abortion argue that it is not murder if the child is unborn. So, why is it that if an infant is destroyed a month before the birth, there is no problem, but if killed a month after birth, it is considered as inhumane murder? Lee and George support their argument by providing three important facts that differentiate a human embryo is, in fact, a human being.

First, they say that sex cells and somatic cells are part of a larger organism while the human embryo is a complete or whole organism, though immature (14). Secondly, they say that the embryo is human and has all the characteristics of a human being but the sex and somatic cells are genetically and functionally different because they cannot develop separately while the embryo can. Last but not least, they claim that embryo develops all of the organs and organ systems that are necessary to turn themselves into a mature human being.

Above all, the human embryo, from conception onward, is fully programmed actively to develop himself or herself to the mature stage of a human being, unless prevented by disease or violence (14). With these reasons, it can be said that abortion results in the death of a human being. As a result, abortion is murder since the fetus being destroyed is breathing, has a human form, and has feelings. Carol Everett, who is a former abortionist, once said at the conference Meet the Abortion Providers, “the product abortion, is skillfully marketed and sold to the women at a crisis time in her life.

She buys the product, finds it defective and wants to return it for a refund, but it is too late. ” In most cases, abortion is intentional killing. Most women use aborting as an easy “way out” because they want to avoid in becoming a parent. Parents do have a responsibility to make sacrifices for their children, even if they have not voluntary assumed such responsibilities, or given their consent to the personal relationship with the child- this is the authors’ claim (22). I completely agree with their claim because a person should accept the consequences of risks that one knowingly and willingly takes.

I believe that it is common sense that both women and men should know that contraceptives are not 100 percent effective; for this reason, if they are willingly having sexual intercourse, then they should know that they are taking the risk in possibly becoming pregnant. Therefore, a woman who becomes pregnant should accept her pregnancy as the consequence of taking the risk involved in sexual intercourse. This means that the woman has a duty or a responsibility of taking care for her child regardless if she wanted the baby or not. Since we have special responsibilities to those with whom we are closely untied, it follows that we in fact do have a special responsibility to our children anterior to our having voluntarily assumed such responsibility or consented to the relationship” (23). Abortion is clearly used to avoid responsibility and the authors call this unjust or intentional killing. Nevertheless, while the authors argue that abortion is intentional killing most of the time, they also claim that causing death as a side effect is morally permissible.

For example, if the pregnant woman has cancer in her uterus that will surely endanger the woman’s life, then Lee and George claim that, in this case, it can be morally right to remove the cancer with the baby still in her womb, even if the baby (fetus) dies as a result. They consider the baby’s death as a side effect as well as the ending of the pregnancy itself but they claim that the mother’s life is more important. This type of abortion is known as indirect or non-intentional killing (21). However, they also assert that not every death that is caused because of side effects is right.

For instance, if the mother or the father have a bad habit of smoking when they know for a fact that this will endanger the baby’s (fetus) development, and for this reason, the woman wants to get an abortion because they find out that their baby has a defect- this choice she is making is an unjust act since she could have avoided it but instead, did not do anything to change; therefore, this is the consequence they have to face. It was immoral for them to continue with their actions when they know this will or might cause harm to their child.

The act that would cause the child’s death would avoid harm to the parent but cause a significantly worse harm to his child (21). All in all, the parents have a special responsibility to the child even if they did not want or were not expecting a baby in the first place, they should act responsibly in virtue of being their biological parents. I, however, only partially agree with their argument mentioned above. I agree completely in that abortion should be performed if the woman has a disease that will endanger her life as well as the baby’s.

Nonetheless, in the second example, although it was their fault for causing their child to not develop properly, I think that the parents should be given the choice to perform abortion or to keep their child. Like I mentioned in the beginning, if I were to have a child that is deformed or is mentally unstable, then I would get an abortion even if it is 100 percent my fault. I want my baby to be happy, and I know for a fact that my baby might not be happy in the future because of their defect and I will never forgive myself because my child does not deserve to go through hardship because of the actions that I’ve done.

For this reason, I would not call it unjust killing in this case. After critically analyzing Lee and George’s argument, I come to a conclusion that it is very difficult to draw a line between keeping one’s life or being responsible for one’s actions. On the one hand, if the woman voluntarily put herself into a situation where it might bring her the existence of a person, then in this case no matter what, she is held responsible and accountable for her actions since to make that 'choice' after a pregnancy is underway, merely as a matter of birth control, is an immoral act.

So, abortion is morally wrong since the mother had sexual intercourse of her own free will. On the other hand, the situation becomes complicated when one has to choose whether it is better to get an abortion if there is something wrong with the baby due to the parent’s actions. Would one save the life or choose to abort although this was also their responsibility? With all my aforementioned reasons, I am still in between pro-life and pro-choice because I believe that abortion can be permissible depending on the situation.

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Abortion – “the Wrong of Abortion”. (2017, Apr 24). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/abortion-wrong-abortion/

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