ETHICAL ISSUE: ABORTION INTRODUCTION The root question to ethics is whether abortion is considered murder or a justified killing? Is it morally wrong and if so, should it be made legal or illegal? There are mainly 2 views towards abortion. The pro-choice regard abortion as acceptable in some circumstances as women should be given a freedom of choice. Whereas the pro-life regard abortion an absolute act of wrong and should be criminalized. Let us first take a look at various approaches to help us better understand and justify both sides of the argument. RIGHTS APPROACH
A pro-choice would argue that women have the rights to her life, body and health. Before abortion was permitted, women will either have to carry their pregnancy to term or desperately seek to abort due to various reasons (eg. health, incest, rape, career), thus resorting to unsafe and life-threatening procedures. However, with access to safe and legal abortions, women will have the basic right of managing their own bodies and the risk of health will be reduced. One example is an article extracted from the National Organization for Women which mentioned the deaths of women who turned to illegal and unsafe abortions. Refer to Example 1) Besides, women have the rights to liberty and thus have the power to exercise their rights to abortion. In the event a woman needs to continue her employment or meet other obligations, she will not be forced to bear a child against her will which can result in misery as it becomes impossible for her to carry out her duties and obligations in the usual manner. An example is from the New York Times Magazine (LIVES - When One Is Enough). A woman named Amy Richards explains why she decided to go for abortion. (Refer to Example 2) In addition, women have the rights to sovereignty.
By allowing abortion, women would not be unjustly forced into motherhood which in turn forces them into submissive roles in society. Thus their rights to livelihood and continuation of education and profession will not be depleted. They can have the potential of being on equal status, dominion and power as men. Under the concept of personhood, it is argued that fetuses are not yet born and are not sentient beings. They do not have the capacity to have experiences (eg. feeling pain) and are not yet reasoning, self-aware beings capable of moral reciprocity.
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Hence, they do not have a substantial right to life yet. However, I feel that fetuses are considered human beings from conception and thus they should enjoy the full moral status of born human beings. It is said that although fetuses may not be persons yet, they have the potential to become one and thus, fetuses should enjoy basic moral rights to life. Hence, the rights of an unborn should not be compromised against the rights of the mother. UTILITARIAN APPROACH On one hand, it is argued that legalizing abortion diminishes the maternal mortality rate of women within the society.
Studies have indicated that after the legalization of abortion, it has resulted in a much lower percentage of maternal death rates due to greater access to safer and legal methods of abortion and timely abortions, thereby reducing the risk of health complications. (Refer to Example 3) Besides, timely abortions can be made. Abortions done in early stages (1st trimester) will greatly reduce the fetus’s suffering compared to later stages where the fetus starts developing into a sentient being (capability to experience suffering).
In addition, it can potentially reduce the number of unwanted children. In the cases of rape or physical and mental defects of the unborn child, abortion will be the better alternative to reduce the potential physical and mental suffering the mother feels that her child will possibly face in future. For instance, the child suffers psychologically due to his peers teasing his physical defects. Furthermore, it can help diminish the growth of over-populated areas especially in countries like Singapore. The New Statesman indicated that “The world as a whole is overpopulated by 2 billion”.
A decrease in population can help to reduce the rate at which natural resources are being used and reduce competition for employment opportunities which results in a higher standard of living. However, I believe banning abortion has its benefits as well. A study revealed that women who had undergone abortions place themselves at a higher death risk than women who give birth. A Finland study revealed a 7 fold increased death rate among aborting women resulting from suicide due to post-abortion distress. Besides, it encourages economic growth.
Parents will have to spend financial resources on their child for the purposes of education, clothing and food. Due to the increase in expenditure, demand increases, leading to a rise in supply. The overall effect will lead to an increase in the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Furthermore, it encourages population growth in under-populated countries such as Australia. This prevents the excessive exploitation of resources such as food, energy and minerals and helps to better maximize the utility of such resources.
In addition, in the event that the mother decides to send her child for adoption due to reasons like being financially handicapped, there will be more opportunities for infertile couples to adopt a child. COMMON GOOD APPROACH On one hand, allowing abortion reduces the overall suffering of unwanted children in the society which; can be due to the inexperience and financial instability of the mother. Some children thus remain in the foster care where a sense of loss and overwhelming rejection is developed.
It also gives women the liberty to abort the baby based on their right to privacy as they might not want others to learn about their pregnancy. The US Supreme Court found that women have better mental health when offered abortion as an option. This means children who are born are wanted more by their family and thus they will be able to attain a better welfare and education. In addition, abortion has allowed women to have an opportunity to pursue their life and educational goals which they may not be able to pursue after being a mother.
Furthermore, legalizing abortion serves to protect the safety of women as now; many will not turn to illegal abortion but instead seek proper medical aborting procedures. Nonetheless, I feel that banning abortion emphasizes on the importance of responsible contraceptive usage and birth control methods which is crucial to help reduce the occurrence of accidental pregnancy.. According to the National Abortion Federation, 78% of teenage pregnancies are unintended, out of which 35% sought abortion.
It also increases the awareness of respect for sex. It is important to understand that a woman is not an “object” for sexual gratification nor is sex to be abused without regard. Thus, banning abortion stresses on the importance for taking responsibility for one’s actions. Furthermore, it helps us to better appreciate human lives. A life of an unborn cannot be undermined to the life of a born human. This teaches us to have compassion and empathy towards any human life. VIRTUE APPROACH By allowing abortion, one of the virtues developed is love.
Love leads the mother to abort the baby as she is unconfident of being a good mother to the child, thus she rather not let him live a difficult life in the long run. Self-accountability is also developed as the mother has to face possible consequences that could arise as a result of her abortion. (Eg. Depression, guilt) Besides, courage and fortitude is developed as the mother has to confront the reality of abortion and take courage to accept the responsibility of abortion and its aftermath effects (Eg. post traumatic stress disorder).
In addition, resilience is developed in the mother throughout the entire abortion process for having the strength and ability to cope with the reality and effects of abortion. This helps them to move on with their lives instead of being overwhelmed with emotional trauma and setbacks. On the other hand, by banning abortion, it gives the mother determination to carry on her pregnancy despite external factors that may sway her decision such as being a single mother and unconfident of bringing her child up singlehandedly.
It also develops self-accountability as one has to responsible for one’s own actions. In addition, courage and fortitude is developed as the mother may have to face possible consequences for taking responsibility for the child such as spending more financial resources for the child’s sake. Impartiality can also be developed as the mother is able to be objective in her views and preserve the life of an innocent despite the fact that her child was the result of rape. Self-sacrifice and selflessness can also be developed as the mother decides to put aside her own needs to keep the child.
She may have to quit her current job and terminate all other obligations even though she might not be mentally prepared to raise a child yet. Fore-sightedness is developed as the mother would have to plan ahead of time to provide her child the best treatment possible. FAIRNESS/JUSTICE APPROACH It is argued that if abortion is allowed, everyone will be given an option to abort regardless whether they want to. Since everyone is given a choice, it is fair as it respects everyone’s individual rights.
Since an unborn is only considered human when it is a sentient being, it is fair to abort it in its early stages and not treated as homicide. Furthermore, since it is not born yet, it does not possess human rights to life and thus its life should be decided by its mother. Furthermore, it is only fair that the mother has the right and option to decide what to do with her child since it is her flesh and blood. On the contrary, I believe a human life is determined at conception. Hence abortion equates to the murder of any born human. Thus, it is only fair to grant an unborn an equal right to living as any born human.
Additionally it is also fair to grant the baby the right to live as the baby is an innocent party that should not be dragged into abortion as a result of rape, incest, careless or irresponsible acts of humans. PERSONAL STAND In conclusion, multitudes have come to believe that they benefit from abortion. However, they had failed to realize that if a choice needs to be made, it should be done so before conception of the child. There is no real difference between killing a child before or after it is born. In the case of rape, it is true that the mother may not have come to terms ith carrying her pregnancy to term. However, it is important to adopt an objective view. An unborn should not be killed simply to alleviate the suffering of the mother. Moreover, if abortion is so easy attainable, how many would stop to think of the cruelty of taking away a life of an innocent? Now that legal abortion gives women a safeguard, more will turn to it. Since the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, there had been a 64% increase in the number of abortions in the United States. In addition, family values may be distorted in generations to come.
By aborting her baby, the mother-to-be will lose part of her motherhood and respect. Legalizing abortion also makes it easier for one to overlook the negative consequences and take abortion for granted. Whereas, banning abortion allows people to think twice before acting and take responsibility for their actions. Therefore, I believe abortion should be banned. (1930 words) EXAMPLE 1 [pic] EXAMPLE 2 [pic] EXAMPLE 3 [pic] REFERENCES Josh Levinson. (2004). Abortion poses great ethical dilemma. In The daily campus. Retrieved 18 May 2012, from http://www. dailycampus. com/2. 7438/abortion-poses-great-ethical-dilemma-1. 067241. Josh Marshall. (2004). The Abortion Dilemma: Legal Isn't Always Ethical. In Ethics scoreboard. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://www. ethicsscoreboard. com/list/abortion2. html Claire Pomeroy. (2008). Abortion and Women's Rights: Unification of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice through Feminism. In Serendip. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://serendip. brynmawr. edu/exchange/node/1845 Amy Richards. (2004). LIVES; When One Is Enough. In nytimes. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://www. nytimes. com/2004/07/18/magazine/lives-when-one-is-enough. html Unknown. (2008). Utilitarianism vs.
Moral Duty: Ethical Dilemmas of Abortion. In ivythesis. typepad. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://ivythesis. typepad. com/term_paper_topics/2008/02/utilitarianism. html Abortion Access Project. (2003). The impact of illegal abortion. In ourbodiesourselves. org. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://www. ourbodiesourselves. org/book/companion. asp? compID=100&id=20 Unknown. (2005). When abortion was illegal. In socialworker. org. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://socialistworker. org/2005-2/562/562_06_Abortion. shtml EI. (2002). Abortion Increases Women’s Mortality Rate. In afterabortion. rg. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://afterabortion. org/2002/abortion-increases-womens-mortality-rates/ Austine Cline. (Unknown). Abortion is a serious ethical issue. In atheism. about. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://atheism. about. com/od/abortioncontraception/p/AbortionEthics. htm Kundan Pandey. (2011). Ethical Issues on Abortion. In goaccess. org. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://www. goaccess. org/ethical-issues-on-abortion. html BrookesB. (2005). Abortion: An ethical dilemma. In writework. Retrieved 18 May, 2012 from http://www. writework. com/essay/abortion-ethical-dilemma
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